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Extension: Swarming bugs were looking for moisture


North-central Montana was aswarm with bugs Tuesday morning as they moved from dry fields to find moisture in towns.

"They're all over the place," Blaine County Extension agent Mike Schuldt said Tuesday. "I've gotten a number of calls about them."

Will Lanier, entomologist at the Montana State University Extension Service, said in a press release that the insects are seed bugs, a plant and seed eater that does not bite humans, carry disease or cause damage to structures.

Tuesday's high number of bugs, about -inch long and dark with mottled spots, does not necessarily mean the bugs will remain or return, he said.

Seed bugs are a flying insect, but generally are seen crawling in large groups. They are common in Montana, but Lanier said he has never heard of them swarming like they did Tuesday.

"Dry conditions have caused seed bugs to move from rangeland to areas of higher moisture like lawns, flower beds, swimming pools and houses," Lanier said.

Lanier said the bugs can be controlled with a broom, mop or vacuum. Soapy water also can be used to control the bugs. Insecticides aren't needed and generally not recommended, he said. Plugging airways such as worn door seals or window screens would help keep the bugs out of the house, Lanier said.

Lanier said no serious plant damage was reported in the towns the seed bugs invaded, including Havre, Chinook, Cut Bank and Shelby, and no serious damage is expected.


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