Seeing Red and Black Bugs?
Have you seen red and black colored insects crawling all over grass and up the sides of houses? Is there a Goldenrain tree or Chinaberry tree in the 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 doesn’t harm plants.
These bugs are in a way providing a service. They are eating the seeds of the tree so that thousands of seedlings won’t start 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.
CONTROL: Usually, no control is necessary. A small concentration on a plant can often be destroyed by hand collecting. Brushing or knocking large populations of the bugs that are on plants or walls into a small bucket of soapy water will kill them.
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. 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.