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In the spring they are again found in flocks in sunny spots in the garden and on paths and stones, the red fire bugs. Now the question arises whether the insects are poisonous and therefore dangerous for us humans.

Two different types

There are over 400 different species of fire bugs worldwide. In Germany, however, only two species are native and known:

  • red-black common fire bug
  • Pyrrhocoris apterus
  • striking red coloring
  • black pattern
  • reminiscent of African tribal mask
  • brown colored bug
  • Pyrrhocoris marginatus
  • both species 10 to 12 millimeters in size

Both species occur in large numbers in spring, mainly in sunny places, on paths and boundary stones. But the red ones are much more visible than their brown relatives.

Toxic or not?

In no case are the animals dangerous or poisonous. They also do not spray any caustic liquids. However, nature is such that animals that are bright red in color are often poisonous. This applies to spiders but also to snakes and various other insects and reptiles. But there is nothing to fear from the red fire bugs. However, the following phenomenon can occur:

  • Bugs protect themselves from predators
  • they secrete a foul-smelling secretion
  • when they sense danger
  • Birds are deterred
  • they also have a bitter taste
  • red color also deters predators

Notice: Due to the foul-smelling secretion and the bitter taste of the fire bugs, they have hardly any predators and can therefore usually reproduce unhindered and therefore always appear in large numbers.

Fight - yes or no?

The fire bugs do not have to be fought under any circumstances. Because both children and dogs or cats usually leave the bugs alone if they secrete their secretions when touched. However, if a small child puts a firebug in its mouth, it will quickly spit it out again, as it also tastes very bitter. In addition, swallowing it is only uncomfortable but without further damage.

Remove gently

The lively and colorful insects can be easily removed when they become a nuisance. Especially in spring, with the first warm temperatures, they emerge from under the stones and from cracks in the walls, under which they spend the winter to enjoy the first warm rays of the sun. They are not referred to as pests but as nuisances due to the mass accumulation and can be gently removed as follows:

  • Sweep up carefully with a dustpan and broom
  • put in the provided bucket
  • move to a suitable place in the garden
  • do not fight with chemical agents
  • doesn't make sense
  • only harms the garden

As a preventive measure, brushwood or balsam fir chaff can be laid out as mulch in the places where the fire bugs overwinter and reappear in spring. The insects do not like this and will avoid these parts of the garden on their own.

Tip: Since the insects always appear in very large groups wherever you walk, it can be a bit difficult to get through without stepping on the animals. Therefore, you should gently remove the fire bugs if they bother you and look for another suitable place where they will no longer bother you.

Useful for the garden

Basically, the bugs are very useful for the garden. Because they feed on fallen and dead plant material and thus clean the earth. So the bugs in the garden have the following benefits:

  • feed on dead flowers
  • prefers mallow and hibiscus
  • hollyhocks
  • as well as linden seeds
  • also from dead insects
  • Mosquitoes don't like to be around

Notice: Unlike other insects and bugs, the bugs do not attack living plants. They are therefore completely safe for your garden, as well as your children and pets. Nevertheless, it can happen in a mass gathering that isolated buds of roses are eaten. However, this is usually an exception.

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