You are here

Red-Shouldered Bug

Red-Shouldered Bug
Jadera haematoloma
(Order Hemiptera; Family Rhopalidae)

Red-Shouldered Bug on the sidewalk















Jadera haematoloma (Photo Credit: David R. Linder)
(Kansas: Butler County. City of Andover, 37°41'27"N, 97°8'12"W. 14 September 2011.)

Adult Diagnosis:   This hemipteran, considered a pest by many, is frequently found in Kansas. Not to be confused with the related Boxelder Bug, the Red-Shouldered bug is true to its name, typically displaying a small sliver of red on each shoulder. The coloring of the remainder of the dorsal surface may fall anywhere between dark gray and black. The body length of the Red-Shouldered bug ranges from 1 cm to 1.5 cm, with females, on average, being larger than males.

Adult Natural History:  Adult Red-Shouldered Bugs are typically found around their host plant during the late spring through fall. Red-Shouldered Bugs are rather particular about their host plant and exclusively seek out trees belonging to the family Sapindaceae. The adults will also cohabitate with their nymphs. During the colder winter months, Red-Shouldered Bugs will typically seek out warmer sites to stay for the winter. Unfortunately, as many homeowners may know, this site tends to be located in or around the home.

It is common for Red-Shouldered bugs to have two generations per year. The eggs being laid from the adults of the previous year, and the second being laid after maturation of that year's first generation. April 20 to May 10 is common for oviposition of the first generation. After a two week incubation period for the eggs, nymphs will reach maturity between 50 and 78 days later.

Distribution:  Red-Shouldered Bugs are commonly found through Northern South America, Central America, and the Southern United States. However, the species have been colonizing sites further north as of late.

Habitat:  Red-Shouldered Bugs will typically be found around plants belonging to the family Sapindaceae. The goldenrain tree is commonly found in Kansas and may serve as a host plant, however the soapberry tree is probably the most popular host. They have a tendency to colonize the ground around the tree as that is where the seeds fall. During the winter months, they may be found in and around homes. Though, they are not destructive to the home, they are typically perceived as a nuisance.

Diet: Red-Shouldered Bugs are Sapindaceae seed specialists. Both adults and nymphs feed on these seeds exclusively. However, opportunistic cannibalism and the consumption of other dead arthropods is not unheard of.

Conservation Status:  Stable.


Soapberry bugs feeding on golden rain tree seed


Kansas State University Boxelder and Red-Shouldered Bugs Guide:

Red-Shouldered Bug Field Guide:

Red-Shouldered Bug Control:

University of Tennessee Boxelder and Red-Shouldered Bugs Guide:


Baurfield, Robert J. 2005. Boxelder and Red-Shouldered Bugs. Kansas State University. Manhattan, KS.

Hoffman, Richard L., Steiner, Jr., Warren E. Jadera haematoloma, Another Insect on its Way North (Heteroptera: Rhopalidae). Banisteria. 26: 7-10. 2005.

Carroll, Scott P. and Loye, Jenella E. Specialization of Jadera Species (Hemiptera: Rhopalidae) on the Seeds of Sapindaceae (Sapindales), and Coevolutionary Responses of Defense and Attack. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 80: 373-378. 1987.

Carroll, Scott P. Contrasts in Reproductive Ecology Between Temperate and Tropical Populations of Jadera haematoloma, a Mate-Guarding Hemipteran (Rhopalidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 81(1): 54-63. 1988.

Submitted By:   David R. Linder, October 2011

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
Designed by Bioadventures.