Can anyone tell me what these bugs are and whether they are a nuisance in the garden? I have thousands of them. They cluster on some plants but I am not sure if they are causing any damage.
I think this is a milkweed bug. It supposedly does no significant damage to plants in the garden.
I'd guess (I'm no expert) milkweed bug or soldier beetle. You can post a pic for ID at bugguide.net.
Hi Hearts ease,
I was going to ask you if your bugs were all clustered on a seed pod or fruit like my somewhat similar cotton stainers were ( http://butterflies.heuristron.net/plants/tree/Portia.html ) because looking up pests of the plant I found them on helped me identify them, but after a bit more searching I think your bugs might be Dindymus versicolor, or Harlequin Bugs. There are some pictures here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/1555/
Here: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1442-9993.1981.tb01492.x?cookieSet=1&journalCode=aec they're reporte to be a "minor fruit pest. in Australia"
If you go to this site http://agspsrv34.agric.wa.gov.au/ento/icdb/imagelist.IDC and scroll way down to the Pyrrhocoridae bugs, you can click each one (there are only a few) to see photographs to compare to one of your bugs to figure out which species yours is in case I'm wrong.
Here is a link that might be useful: http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/1555/
I'm no expert but I believe they are "Boxelder" Bugs. See this link. Now, how to get rid of them?
Here is a link that might be useful: Boxelder Bug
I don't understand the link, Dan. It does not say that the bugs are harmful, but "could be annoying." Then why kill them? The link suggests removing boxelder trees, but they are native trees. I think the bugs would be controlled naturally by predators.
Am I missing the problem? Thanks.