Pyrrhocoris apterus (Firebug)

Last update: 20 February 2021


LOCATION: Krimpen aan den IJssel, garden


Winter arrived during the night and has covered the land in a white blanket. Being outside when it snows or has snowed is always a peculiar sensation so this morning we went out to enjoy it. After less then ten steps the subconscious awakens by ringing the detection alarm: ‘beetle’ echoes through my head. Looking at the ground a familiar shape presents itself, not a beetle but a Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) [1].

The winter weather apparently caught this one by surprise and it could not reach a shelter in time.

Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

It will get a spot in the garden collection.

UPDATE: 2021/02/09

I had taken the bug with me to add to the collection and put it aside while doing something else, but when starting the preparations to pin I noticed the antenna had been stretched out again like in a live specimen and after closer observation one of it’s legs was slowly, spastically twitching. As the day progressed more legs started twitching, so I put in a box for the night to see if it would recover. The next day it was lying on it’s back moving it’s legs through the air but looked better once turned over. Now, two days later, it is fully recovered and roaming about, so I’ll release it again when the weather is getting warmer.

Here it drinks water water from a soaked cotton pad.

Fire bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

UPDATE: 2021/02/17

All snow and ice has disappeared as quickly as they came and the temperature went up. the bug drinks but the sugar water and grape I’d offered as nutrition it does not want. Since there is no other food source available I’ve decided to set it free near some Common mallow plants so maybe it can find nutrition from those.

Fire bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)


1 Nederlands Soortenregister

2 Aukema, B., Th. Heijerman & V.J. Kalkman 2016. Veldgids wantsen deel 1. – EIS Kennis­ centrum Insecten, Leiden.

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