Gardening tips, Pests & Diseases of Lawns,

Firebugs in the Garden: What now?!

Firebugs in your garden? SPOILER ALERT - they're benign! They won't harm you or your garden. Find out how these interesting bugs contribute to your garden's ecosystem.

5 MIN 11 Oct
Last update: 10 Oct 2023
Free download
Do you want a lawn calendar?

🌱 All important maintenance moments for your lawn during the year. Leave your email and we will send you the lawn calendar for free.

Enter your email

Receive the lawn calendar in the mail

Enjoy a green lawn all year round!

Having a hard time choosing?
Answer 2 questions about your lawn and we will help you choose the right product!

Until relatively recently, the common firebug wasn’t commonly found in the UK. But now, you can find these European settlers almost everywhere you go: in the garden, park, and even living in and on trees. 

Table of contents:
  • The firebug family
  • Recognising firebugs
  • The Firebugs’ favourite hiding places
  • Firebugs in the garden: harmful or helpful?
  • Are firebugs poisonous?
  • The firebug’s role in your garden’s ecosystem
  • What to do if your patio gets infested?
  • Firebugs are not that bad!
  • FAQs

These tiny insects may look dangerous with their blood-red and black shells, but they’re actually harmless to humans and feed solely on seeds, so they’re unlikely to nibble on your plants. 

So, what should you do if you discover a firebug infestation in your garden? 

Find out here. 

The firebug family

The common firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) belongs to the Pyrrhocoridae family. And while they may look like beetles, they’re not. They’re effectively relatively benign garden insects. 

Recognising firebugs

Firebug on a purple flower
Most firebugs look like this. They may have different black markings, but they’re unmistakable. Photo by Erik-Karits on Pixabay

It’s easy to identify a firebug because they look distinctive, with their bright red or orange backs and symmetrical black patterned markings. 

The black pattern varies depending on the specific species, but many have a striking X pattern across their back, while others have stripes or spots. 

The firebug’s body is flat and oval, and they have six legs and two antennae. They have a proboscis with which they eat plant seeds, aphids, and the corpses of their own species! So, firebugs in your garden could help control aphid infestations. 

Ultimately, firebugs are generally benign, posing very little threat and could be considered a valuable part of your garden’s ecosystem. 

Garden doctor Louis says:

Firebugs are welcome guests in my garden. If they start to infest my seating areas, I simply pick them up and move them to the edge of the garden.

The Firebugs’ favourite hiding places

Firebugs surrounding a seed pod.
Firebugs feeding on a seed pod – Photo by Nennieinszweidrei on Pixabay

Firebugs tend to congregate in large numbers, appearing principally during the warmer months of the year. While they’re active, firebugs constantly search for food and mates. 

You’ll find these harmless critters in sunny and warm areas of your garden, especially in walls that capture the sun’s heat during the day, offering a warm haven in the evening. 

You’ll also discover firebugs underneath dead leaves and rotting wood. 

Firebugs spend most of the day looking for food and lay eggs close to food sources. The young nymphs remain close to their parents until they’re fully grown. 

Firebugs in the garden: harmful or helpful?

Well, this is a refreshing article to write because — for a change — we’re suggesting living with your firebug friends rather than ridding them from your garden. Firebugs eat seeds and dead organic matter, so they’re actually playing an essential role in your garden. 

Firebugs can help control aphids and even molluscs such as snails. They sometimes drink the sap from plants, which can cause some damage, but typically, they won’t cause a lot of havoc. 

Their favourite plant is the mallow — whenever there’s a mallow in the garden, firebugs will feed on its seeds and leave your other plants alone. 

Ultimately, firebugs contribute to the decomposition process required to clear dead organic matter, so they’re helpful and can help return nutrients to the soil. 

Are firebugs poisonous?

They may look it, but firebugs aren’t toxic. They’re actually utterly harmless to humans and animals. They don’t bite, and they don’t produce venom. 

Their bright colour primarily serves to deter predators, who see their colouring as a warning of poison. However, they’re not toxic to birds who enjoy a little firebug snack now and then. 

The firebug’s role in your garden’s ecosystem

A cluster of firebugs on rotting wood
You’ll often find clusters of firebugs on rotting wood – Photo by MelaniMarfeld on Pixabay

Firebugs benefit your garden’s ecosystem in the following ways:

They break down dead plant parts and rotting wood, leaving plenty of nutrients behind that maintain your soil’s health

They’re an essential source of food for other animals. Birds, reptiles, and amphibians, such as frogs, have learned that firebugs offer a nutritious meal despite their threatening appearance.

What to do if your patio gets infested?

While firebugs aren’t hazardous, they might freak out the more squeamish among us. So, if you spot some in your garden and don’t want them there, simply pick them up and move them to another place. Or use a soft brush and sweep them up and drop them off somewhere else. 

You can kill them with pesticides, but why would you?

Firebugs are not that bad!

These misunderstood creatures pose absolutely no threat, so I suggest learning to live with them as equals. Sure, move them if you find their presence uncomfortable, but they won’t harm you, your pets, or your garden plants — so enjoy their presence as part of a rich ecosystem. 


Why are firebugs dangerous?

They not! Firebugs pose very little threat to human, animal or plant life, so if you spot firebugs, leave them be. They may look dangerous, with their red backs and symmetrical markings, but they’re entirely benign garden visitors! Live and let live, I say!

Are firebugs harmful to humans?

No. They’re non-toxic and don’t bite. Firebugs don’t pose a threat to humans, pets, or plant life. They feed on seeds and enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the plants that provide them. 

What attracts firebugs?

Firebugs enjoy warm, sunny spots in your garden, but you’ll also find them underneath leaves and by rotting wood. They feed on the remaining juices of dead plant parts, so they’re a valuable contributor to your garden’s essential decomposition process. 

Any questions?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our friends, the firebugs, but if you have any questions, get in touch

Or check our comprehensive lawn and garden Help & Advice section for a vast selection of how-tos, step-by-step guides, and gardening information. 

Thanks for reading

Find the best match for your needs in no time!
Answer 2 questions and we provide you with the best product.
We help you to choose your best product
Question 1/2
Loading your result…
  • What is your lawn care goal?
    1. A. Greener grass
    2. B. A more lush, dense lawn
    3. C. Bald spot repair
    4. D. Lawn restoration
    5. E. Laying out a new lawn
    6. F. Combating moss
  • For which season?
    1. A. Spring
    2. B. Summer
    3. C. Autumn
    4. D. Winter
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn has shaded areas
    2. B. My lawn is used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I have a standard lawn without special features
  • How many bald spots do you have?
    1. A. A lot, my lawn looks like a barren wasteland
    2. B. A few bald spots here and there
  • Describe your lawn restoration goal:
    1. A. I want to completely renovate my lawn
    2. B. I want to overseed my existing lawn
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn is shaded
    2. B. My lawn will be used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I would like to have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I would like to have a thick and strong lawn
  • How bad is the moss problem in your garden?
    1. A. Bad. My lawn is covered in moss.
    2. B. Just a few spots
Here’s the product that suits your goal best
Try this one.
< Try again

Comments (0)

There are no comments yet. Well then, what are you waiting for to
inaugurate this pretty page?

Be the first to write your comment!
+ Load more

Do you have some comments?


+Best sellers

Our most popular products

Browse Best Sellers
Scarifying Kit 4.6 (14 reviews) All products after scarifying | Quickly restores the lawn after scarifying | Outsmart weeds quickly with the use of this kit From: £ 39.99
Spring Lawn Care Kit 4.8 (6 reviews) MOOWY’s choice for the spring | Quick recovery of your lawn after winter | A strong lawn prevents weeds From: £ 25.99
Long Lasting Lawn Fertiliser 4.3 (22 reviews) Effective for 90 days | See results in 14 days! | Suitable for all types of grass and soil From: £ 13.99

Free download
Do you want a lawn calendar?

🌱 All important maintenance moments for your lawn during the year. Leave your email and we will send you the lawn calendar for free.

Enter your email

Receive the lawn calendar in the mail

Enjoy a green lawn all year round!