I have these bugs in and around my yard:

enter image description here

This is in Los Angeles. Are these harmful to plants, pets, or humans? I've found them on some of our plants (Salvia Lantana, Naga Peppers, etc.) I've even found a couple "gettin' busy" so they're pretty active.

2 Answers 2


Meet the Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii).

This little fellow is mostly harmless, unless you are a milkweed breeder. Its favorite food are milkweed seeds, but it won't be too picky about other seeds or sources of protein. In a balanced garden, they allow you to have milkweed for the butterflies without being overrun by it as weeds. (They will eat the occasional butterfly egg though, but also other insects.)

They are completely harmless for humans and only if you feel they are a nuisance or you can't tolerate the minimal feeding damage some intervention may be warranted - manually removing large clusters should suffice.

More links: 1, 2, Wikipedia (available only in German, not English)

  • Did you send a link, Stephie? Is this considered a 'stink bug'...Lygaeus kalmii? I'll go look it up. The link I posted shows this exact bug, amazingly enough.
    – stormy
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:03
  • Your ID is right on Ms. Stephie!! I didn't find the actual name...
    – stormy
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:06
  • Thanks! We do have some milkweed, too. We just purchased the house, so I'll have to keep an eye out to see how much damage they are doing. I only see a few here and there, so far. Sep 3, 2017 at 6:09
  • @stormy thanks! Had to do some research, though. My knee-jerk reaction was "Firebug!, seen by the hundreds clustering at the foot of linden trees here every spring. But no...
    – Stephie
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:26
  • Cool looking bugs, I like the other name 'shield bugs'...the detail and design of these guys is humbling.
    – stormy
    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:29

Stink bug Chinche
Common Milkweed Bug or Small Milkweed Bug Lygaeus kalmii

This is a stink bug. Incredible insects but too many are a problem. How many do you see in a day? They love milkweed and are able to decimate seeds. That would be tough for a commercial producer of milkweed seed but I don't think that they would cause you any problems unless something is out of balance and their population got out of control.

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