After overwintering as adults beneath leaf litter, bark, or other sheltered places, Red-cross Shield Bugs are active again. Their family is variously called the Shield Bugs and the Parent Bugs. The latter name refers to the extraordinary parental behavior exhibited by some species of the group. Mothers remain with their cluster of eggs until they hatch and then continue to protect their young until they near maturity. They monitor their nymphs’ whereabouts closely, tracking them by chemical trails. According to the Bug Lady, this species does not provide maternal care. Instead, laying lots of small batches of eggs near the developing fruits of alders. Parent bugs are closely related to stink bugs (Pentatomoidea) and resemble them in appearance …and similarly produce a foul smell when alarmed. Red-cross Shield Bugs prefer alder and likely birch, feeding with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They are transcontinental in the north, south to northern Georgia, Texas to New Mexico and California.

Photo by: Kristi DuBois on 5/6/21 in Missoula, MT