Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where's a gendarme when you need one?

Apparently, they're hanging out at my place. This is prime reproduction time for the gendarme (pyrrhocoris apterus) or firebug in English. They congregate on the trunks of linden trees (we have one out back covered with them) or other places where it's warm.

Gendarmes congregating on a prickly pear planted against the southern (warmest) wall of our house. You can see a couple of mating pairs on the wall.

These bugs couple together at their back ends to mate. They stay like this for a long time, moving around together like pushmi-pullyus. According to Wikipedia, they're called gendarmes because their red and black color is similar to the colors once worn by French gendarmes.


  1. We have these here although I haven't seen them for ages. Maybe I'm not looking!!

  2. Good news about the cuckoo! (Been very busy at work; will check out all blogs this weekend).
    Have a good Easter!

  3. Ewww, at first glance that looks like a yucky picture. I got over it quickly, though :)

  4. Walt,

    Spring is making a delayed entry in these parts. I expect to see a similar explosion of ladybugs in my garden shed any day now. They look somewhat like your photo above.

    Have a great day!

    Retired in Delaware

  5. That's a lot of bugs. Of course, we have our bee hives, so I know what a lot of bugs looks like. In fact, we captured another swarm last week so now we have even more. Looking forward to lots of tasty honey this year.

  6. A sure sign that spring has arrived for you Walt. I recall the first spring in our Cognac garden I was very alarmed when I saw so many of these and didn't know what they were or if they were trouble. My French neighbours were kind enough to point out that they were gendarmes and in fact were good for the garden. After that I grew quite fond of them, even giving them all names (kidding)!

  7. I have never seen this bug in philly. interesting colors. but the mating pairs...IN PUBLIC YET...ooh la la! :)

  8. They look rather like flatter ladybugs. Wonder if there's a bug family connection?


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.