Little Spartina bug common now in east Texas

The tiny spartina bug, Ischnodemus falicus, emerges from cordgrass to become an occasional pest around homes.

Try as we might, we can’t escape nature.

That might be the lesson for many folks who live near rural areas in east and central Texas.  This week I’ve had several calls about a small black insect invading homes.  Scientifically it’s known as Ischnodemus falicus, a member of the Lygaeid or seed bug family.

This insect has been invading homes in Tyler and the northeastern Texas counties and has also been reported from the College Station area.  It is an example of a typical fall invader–not dangerous or damaging apart from making itself a nuisance by invading our homes.

Ischnodemus is reportedly a feeder on cordgrass, Spartina spp., which grows along lake and pond edges or in poorly drained bottom soil, eg. bar ditches or old pond beds.  They can become locally abundant, sometimes after these grasses have been mowed.  They are attracted by lights, and may be drawn in large numbers to house lights and lighted windows.   They are small enough to squeeze in around doors and windows.

Fortunately, these handsome bugs don’t do any damage either to the home or to outdoor garden plants.  They are a reminder, however, that none of us are really that far from nature.

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