Firebugs of Utah


European firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus)
A new bug in town

European firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus) first appeared in Salt Lake City in approximately 2008, the first documented sighting of this insect in the Western Hemisphere! Though a population is getting established in Toronto and scattered individuals have been observed in Idaho, Utah's firebug population remains the largest outside their orginal range. Help NHMU track the dispersal of this new arrival in Utah.

Here's what you need to know:

1. How to identify a firebug

Firebugs look very similar to boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata).You will know you've found a firebug if it has a red body with two black dots on its back. Firebugs range in size from 6.5-12 mm (about the same size as a boxelder bug). They have prominent eyes that seem to come from their shoulders. Firebugs, unlike boxelder bugs, cannot fly.

2. Document your firebug observations with iNaturalist

Download the free iNaturalist app to your mobile device and take photos of firebugs wherever you see them. iNatuarlist is a great tool for recording and identifying any wild plant or animal you encounter. Watch a short iNaturalist tutorial and learn how to make great observations with your mobile device:

Be sure to add your firebug observations to the Firebugs of Utah project in iNaturalist. Check the map on the project page to see how far firebugs have spread.

3. Firebugs are harmless to humans

Firebugs won't harm you or your garden. They only eat seeds.