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Elm Seed Bug (Arocatus melanocephalus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Elm Seed Bug.


 Updated: 6/12/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Elm Seed Bug  
Picture of Elm-Seed-Bug
Picture of Elm-Seed-Bug


The name and large swarming tendencies of Elm Seed Bugs suggest it is dangerous, but the harmless insect is really just a seasonal nuisance.





First sighted in 2009 in counties in Idaho, the Elm Seed Bug is native to Europe and how it came to North America is unknown. It is a relative of Boxelder Bugs and Stink Bugs, and like them, produces an odor when crushed or smashed. What makes them so troublesome is their swarming nature. Hundreds of them congregate and have a tendency to find their way indoors. They do not harm people, or even the tree they are named after, but the infestation inside a home is naturally disturbing. Because adults do not die in winter, they tend to look for warmer places to ride out the cold weather. They also tend to look for cooler environments in the hot summer, so ridding a house or building of them may be a biannual chore.

Government agencies in Idaho and Utah suggest vacuuming (using a Shop-vac or other brand of workshop vacuum) any swarms that get indoors and establishing routine insecticide treatments around the perimeter of an infiltrated house or building. Treating window wells and door frames also helps deter Elm Seed Bugs from using them as entry points. Larval Elm Seed Bugs feed on the seeds of elm trees during the spring and early summer. They are therefore likely to be found in neighborhoods or regions where elms are present. Preventing an invasion is easier than removing one, so raking up and destroying fallen elm seeds, and inspecting firewood before bringing it indoors are recommended.

Our thanks to Fred and Jan T. in Idaho for their assistance in identifying this insect.
Basic Information
Common Name: Elm Seed Bug
Scientific Name: Arocatus melanocephalus
Category: True Bug


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 13mm (0.31in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: brown, tan
Additional Descriptors: stinky, smelly, swarm, horde, infestation, invasion, cluster, flying, triangle




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Lygaeidae
Genus: Arocatus
Species: melanocephalus




Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Elm Seed Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
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State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
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State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
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State of Maine graphic
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State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Elm Seed Bug
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