March 11, 2008

Seeing Red and Black Bugs?

By Jane Morse
University of Florida, IFAS Pinellas County Extension Agent

Jadera haematolomaHave you seen red and black colored insects crawling all over your grass and up the sides of your house? Do you have a Goldenrain tree or Chinaberry tree in your yard or close by? Then most likely the insect you are seeing is the harmless Jadera haematoloma. This is a seed-eating insect and it won’t harm your plants.

These bugs are in a way providing a service to you. They are eating the seeds of the tree so that you do not have thousands of baby trees sprouting up under the adult tree.

In central Florida, March, April and May are usually the peak months for Jadera bugs. The adults are 1/3 to ½ inches long (with wings) and about a 10th of an inch wide. Their color is mostly black except for reddish eyes, shoulders and border area of the abdomen. The nymphs (young) are mostly reddish in color, with the mid-section, antennae, beak and legs brown to black. They look like their wearing little black vests over their red bodies.


Usually, no control is necessary. A small concentration on a plant can often be destroyed by hand collecting.

If the bugs are a nuisance in lawns or playgrounds, removing the tree seeds by raking shortly after the seedpods or lanterns have fallen to the ground is recommended, but should be done when the trees first drop the seedpods, before the seeds detach. Attempting to rake them when the bugs become noticeable in March or April, after the seeds have detached from the seedpods, is too late.

Eliminate hiding places such as piles of rocks, boards, leaves, and general debris close to the house. Repair and close places where bugs can enter the house, such as cracks around doors and windows and in the foundation. Brushing or knocking large populations of the bugs that are on plants or walls into a small pail with water at the bottom is another method of control. A little liquid detergent added to the water will help to kill them more quickly.

If they are in the house, either sweep or vacuum them up and dispose of them. Pyrethrins or insecticidal soap can also be used. Always read and follow the label of any pesticide used.



  1. Are these bugs harmful? As in Will they Bite an animal or human?

    1. Thank you for your question. The harmless Jadera haematoloma is a seed-eating insect that won’t harm your plants, you, or your pets.