How Do You Get Rid Of Fire Bugs?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:32 pm

Fire bugs in the garden

Fire bugs do not have biting tools and therefore cannot gnaw plant parts. Instead, they use a type of proboscis to suck out fallen seeds and other plant debris.

Fresh seed stalks are usually not in danger because native fire bugs have only vestigial wings and therefore cannot fly. Thus, higher plant parts are out of reach.

How Do You Get Rid Of Fire Bugs?

In fact, fire bugs are actually beneficial because they suck out not only seeds but also aphids, preventing the pests from reproducing en masse.

Although they are harmless to humans, animals and many plants, the mass occurrence of fire bugs is still a limitation. If you want to fight the fire bugs, you should definitely avoid aggressive pesticides: Hedgehogs, bees and other beneficial insects also suffer from them.

However, the stinging proboscis of fire bugs poses no danger to humans or animals. To defend themselves against their predators, fire bugs merely emit a foul-smelling secretion that is harmless to humans and pets.

In large groups, fire bugs often appear out of nowhere in the spring. The bugs are not considered pests and are therefore not a problem for most plants in the garden. Nevertheless, many amateur gardeners are bothered by them. How to get rid of fire bugs gently but effectively.

While fire bugs are not harmful to many plants, hollyhock is a different story. In the flower buds, the red and black patterned beetles suck the sap from the seeds. To combat fire bugs, however, you do not have to resort to chemicals. Gentle home remedies also help to get rid of fire bugs.

Are fire bugs harmful?

How Do You Get Rid Of Fire Bugs?

Fire bugs, or fire beetles, appear in droves. And they are quite a nuisance. However, European fire bugs are not really harmful, in contrast to the thick-mouthed weevil, aphids, cherry vinegar flies, plum moths or slugs. Experts agree that fire bugs do not destroy plants. Therefore, it is not necessary to control them.

Should you fight fire bugs?

But one thing is certain: fire bugs will not disappear on their own. This is because they have no natural enemies. Their red-black color is a universal warning sign for all animals. Any bird that has tasted a fire bug once is guaranteed never to do so again, because the bugs taste awful. Additionally, they activate certain pheromones and emit a strong odor when they feel threatened.

Note: It is not a good idea to pick up fire bugs. This is because when they feel attacked, they emit a foul-smelling secretion from their stink glands.

How to control fire bugs?

Animal-loving people sweep up larger accumulations of fire bugs in the garden with a hand brush and shovel and set them out a safe distance from the garden in a dry and warm place. However, since nature has no mercy on gardeners, new bugs are guaranteed to migrate in from the other side of the garden.

A proven strategy to reduce fire bugs in the garden is to remove faded fruit stalks from the garden. However, do not dispose of fire bug-infested fruit stalks in the compost, but in the organic waste. Otherwise, the bugs will soon be crawling through the garden again.

Fight fire bugs with home remedies

You do not feel like picking up the annoying lodgers one by one? Here we tell you a simple, effective and harmless home remedy against fire bugs. Everything you need for this, you usually already have at home.


  • 1/2 liter of water
  • 1 shot of washing-up liquid
  • Spray bottle

Pour the water with a dash of dishwashing liquid (biodegradable) into a spray bottle.
Spray the mixture liberally on the bug nest. This way you can target fire bugs.
Also interesting: Do you already know this secret weapon against aphids?

What do fire bugs eat?

How Do You Get Rid Of Fire Bugs?

It also helps to deprive the bugs of their favorite food. Even then, they will no longer descend on the garden in droves. These include:

  • Acacia
  • Mallows
  • Robinias
  • Horse chestnuts
  • Hollyhocks

Note: If you want to get rid of fire bugs completely, please do not use chemicals. Insecticides decimate not only the bugs in the garden, but also all beneficial insects such as bees and bumblebees.

Fight fire bugs

Although they are harmless to humans, animals and many plants, the mass occurrence of fire bugs is still a limitation. If you want to fight the fire bugs, you should definitely avoid aggressive pesticides: Hedgehogs, bees and other beneficial insects also suffer from them.

In addition, fire bugs are occasionally eaten by birds, which would ingest the insecticide by eating the bugs and become ill from it. Other natural enemies of fire bugs include spiders and predatory bugs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Instead, put a few drops of an environmentally safe dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle and fill it with water. Use this mixture to spray the fire bugs’ nests, which will then die.

Fighting fire bugs with wood chips

Wood chips from the North American balsam fir can also help control fire bugs: the wood contains a substance that prevents the larvae from passing the final stage to adulthood. The wood chips are available at well-stocked garden supply stores or directly from some nurseries. Simply apply the chips to the fire bugs’ favorite spots in your garden as mulch.

However, it is more animal friendly to simply use a shovel and broom to carry the fire bugs into a bucket and release the insects into the wild, far from your garden. Be sure to wear gloves to do this, so your skin doesn’t come into contact with the smelly secretion that the animals secrete when they are in danger.

You can simply dispose of infested inflorescences in your organic waste. Do not throw the infested plant parts in the compost, otherwise the fire bugs may find their way back into your garden all too quickly.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *