I've just recently moved to Europe (southern Germany), so this might be a common sight to someone who has been living here for longer.

Yesterday I noticed dozens of these insects walking on the sidewalk and grass. Then I looked at the trunk of some trees and, lo and behold, saw HUNDREDS of them, just chilling there.

Apparently they don't bite, don't fly, don't do anything except cuddle up to each other.

I first saw them early in the morning (around 9am), but again late in the evening (11pm).

So, what are those? Is it common to have so many of these or should I be worried?

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    Definitely firebugs. Pretty common on the continent, and they form these massive just-hatched-out swarms you noticed. They particularly like lime (not the citrus type) trees. My stepfather's bungalow in central France has had swarms of thousands of them in the trees. They are very cool little things. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 8:37
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    @Whelkaholism I noticed that they usually stay on the same kind of tree, though there is a wide variety in the area. Don't know exactly what kind of tree it is though.
    – undefined
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 8:47
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    As you probably saw on the Wikipedia page, the different patterns are differnent instars, the mask-like pattern being the final, adult instar, although the little waistcoats of the earlier instars being pretty cool too :) Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 8:56
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    @Whelkaholism yes, they look cool and also have a nice name. I tend to find insects quite disgusting (shame on me), but these are cute, like ladybugs.
    – undefined
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 8:59
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    Completely harmless and nothing to worry about. You can pick them up with your hand if they get on your stuff or in your house (which is rare). Think of them as fireflies that don't light up.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


As per Aravona's comment, this is a firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus).

According to Wikipedia, they are not dangerous and nothing to worry about. German version has way more info about this than the English one.

Also, they seem to be very common in Europe and parts of Africa and Asia.


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