The United States is home to a vast ecosystem that is the home of various red and black bugs.
Some of the most common species of bugs are black and red. Various types of ladybugs and other popular culture bugs are seen in black and red coloring.
This color combination often acts to the benefit of the bugs which can be perceived as toxic by some of their predators.
Almost all types of habitats in the US house various black and red bugs. From crops to meadows or woodlands, there are many territories these bugs live in.
Velvet bugs, a type of mimicking red and black bugs also live in deserts.
Some of the following black and red bugs are native to the US while others are imported and settled species.
Table of Contents
1. Asian Lady Beetle
Asian Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis) are common black and red bugs in the United States. These bugs have been introduced to the country beginning in 1916.
Asian Lady Beetles were first introduced to eat aphids which were eating vegetables on crops to a large extent.
It took decades to establish the Asian Lady Beetle in North America. Asian Lady Beetles in Western North America have been introduced separately to those in Eastern North America.
Its presence is widespread in the US today. This predatory species is identified by its dome-shaped body that grows between 5.5 and 8.5mm.
Its elytra are black and it showcases up to 22 black spots.
2. Seven-spotted Lady Beetle
Seven-spotted Lady Beetles (Coccinella septempunctata) are slightly larger than Asian Lady Beetle.s
These red and black bugs can grow to a size of up to 12.5 inches.
While larger than the common Asian Lady Beetle, the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle is among the bugs that possess multiple protective tactics.
Its red and black coloring makes some predators think it’s poisonous. But this bug can even eliminate a liquid that makes them taste bad.
Seven-spotted Lady Beetles may eventually play dead to escape immediate predation.
These bugs are seen across North America and they are Europe’s most common ladybird.
3. Spotted Lanternfly
The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is among the imported species that quickly became a pest.
This species is a known crop pest in multiple countries in Asia as it has been imported by accident from China.
It’s also a known pest in the US in its short history in North America. The Spotted Lanternfly is among the most common pests in Pennsylvania.
The wings of this species change color as they mature. Their hind wings become red and the upper wings are covered in black spots in mature Spotted Lanterflies.
The species has prompted multiple quarantines in the US to stop its spread. It’s believed this black and red bug will not spread to Canada due to the colder weather in the North.
4. Large Milkweed Bug
Large Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) feed on milkweed, as their name implies.
These bugs are partially black with large red patches across the body.
Large Milkweed bugs have a widespread North and Central American presence with a clear distinction in the habits the species has according to its range.
Large Milkweed bugs in Northern states migrate. They move South in their migration.
Southern Large Milkweed Bugs don’t migrate.
Both the Large Milkweed bugs in the North and those in the South can grow to a maximum size of 12mm.
5. Convergent Lady Beetle
Convergent Lady Beetles (Hippodamia convergens) have red elytra with black dots. These bugs have a black head with white stripes and margins.
The species is one of the most common in the US.
Most Convergent Lady beetles have been used in the control of aphids, especially aphids that eat vegetables.
These bugs are predatory and feed on aphids to the point of extinction.
Lady beetles of this genus can spend almost the entire year in a dormant state. They come out in the spring looking for sights where there are plenty of aphids.
Convergent Lady beetles tend to live together and move for food together.
6. Red Milkweed Beetle
Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) are a common species of black and red bugs that aren’t predators.
This species is a herbivore which means it only eats plants, particularly plant sap.
Red Milkweed beetles open the veins of plants to drink sap directly out of a plant.
Milkweed plants are preferred by the colorful bugs.
These bugs are very good at absorbing various plant toxins which gives them a protective bad taste.
Red Milkweed beetles also differentiate themselves from other similar species by making specific noises in the presence of other bugs of the same species.
You can find these bugs on milkweed as well as various dogbane species.
7. Small Milkweed Bug
Small Milkweed bugs (Lygaeus kalmii) are known to be fully red in their early life and then change to black and red or black and orange coloring.
These bugs are also known to feed on milkweed, similar to the Red Milkweed beetle.
The Small Milkweed bug can turn carnivorous and eat other insects in the absence of milkweed.
Common in North America, the species doesn’t migrate. It emerges in the spring when new adults look to mate immediately.
Males and females can spend up to 24 hours together in the mating process.
There’s no mating season in the species as mating occurs throughout the year.
The bug is further common in Central America and Europe.
8. Common Eastern Firefly
The Common Eastern Firefly (Photinus pyralis) is known for having an orange-red head and black wings with orange-red margins.
There’s a small black mark on the head of the bug. Its legs and long antennae are all-black.
As its name implies, this is a species that produces light or glow on the tip of its abdomen.
Even the eggs of the Common Eastern Firefly have a light glow.
This species is known for its capacity to fly but only among males. The glow, capacity to fly, and the tendency of males to stick together can sometimes make these bugs visible when flying at night.
9. Spotted Pink Ladybeetle
The Spotted Pink Ladybeetle (Coleomegilla maculata) can have a red, yellow, or pink body with black dots.
6 black dots are seen on each wing of the species.
Spotted Pink Ladybeetles are predators and eat aphids.
They are only seen on crops and other areas where there are numerous aphids to feed on. This species tends to favor certain crops.
Soybean and alfalfa crops are known to attract aphids. Corn, peas, and beans are also types of crops that attract high numbers of aphids and high numbers of Spotted Pink ladybeetles.
These bugs aren’t pests and their beneficial role in agriculture is recognized. This means some crops aren’t even treated with chemicals against aphids as long as there are Spotted Pink Ladybeetle populations around.
10. Eastern Boxelder Bug
Eastern Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) have a red and black elongated body. These bugs eat the leaves of various trees and they also lay eggs on ash and maple trees.
The Eastern Boxelder bug feeds on the seeds of boxelder and ash trees.
Bugs of this genus are not seen as agricultural pests. The inflicted damage to trees is minimal.
Some damage might be seen on nearby fruit trees and their ripe fruits in the fall. However, this damage isn’t threatening the health of the trees.
These bugs don’t carry any diseases or parasites that could affect trees either.
Furthermore, their populations are high as Eastern Boxelder bugs don’t have many predators due to their bad taste.
11. Western Boxelder Bug
Western Boxelder Bugs (Boisea rubrolineata) have a black and gray body with red stripes.
This is the Western US species of the Boxelder bug which feeds on boxelder trees.
Also known for its elongated body that narrows towards the head, this species is dependent on boxelder trees for its survival.
Nymphs and adults feed on the seeds of the tree. Adults are highly resilient and survive winters if they can escape indoors.
Most adult Western Boxelder bugs survive winters in homes, barns, garages, or other sheltered structures where they enter a state of inactivity or hibernation.
12. Red-shouldered Bug
Native to North and South America, the Red-shouldered bug (Jadera haematoloma) is now also found in Asia.
This species is almost completely black with only 2 short red stripes on the base of its wings. These red stripes inspire its name.
The bug is known to feed on the seeds of vine balloon vine. It can pierce these seeds with its elongated mouthparts.
These bugs are larger than many types of red and black ladybugs found in North America as they can grow up to a size of 13.5mm.
The uniform black color of the Red-shouldered bug often makes people confuse the species with one of the multiple Boxelder bugs in the US.
13. Milkweed Assassin Bug
This red and black bug (Zelus longipes) is native to North America. It’s also native to most countries in South America.
Its presence is signaled around agricultural fields where it has a biocontrol agent role. This is a common species that hunt caterpillars, especially the caterpillars of moths that eat corn.
Living on corn fields across North America, the Milkweed Assassin bug is one of the black and red species that can eat adult moths as well.
A preference for caterpillars is specific to Milkweed Assassin bugs since caterpillars are easier to catch as they cannot fly.
This type of bug has a widespread presence in Southeastern US corn crops.
14. False Milkweed Bug
Commonly confused with other species, the False Milkweed bug (Lygaeus turcicus) is found in Eastern US states.
You can correctly identify the species by its black body and either red or yellow stripes.
These stripes cover its wings and the head.
The False Milkweed bug feeds on false sunflower.
The name of the species can also confuse some people who expect it to be a major bug of a milkweed host. The False Milkweed bug is mostly interested in false sunflower and flowers of the aster family in the Eastern US.
15. Twice-stabbed Stink Bug
The Twice-stabbed stink bug (Cosmopepla lintneriana) is one of the most common black and red stink bugs. It can be identified by its shield-like body shape.
This species of bug has 2 red dots on its dorsum which inspire its name.
A contrasting red stripe is also visible behind its head.
The species of bugs are mostly found on milk thistle but they can hurt crops as they can also find other hosts.
Alternative hosts for the Twice-stabbed Stink bug include oats and mint plants.
This shiny black and red bug is small compared to other stink bugs as it grows to a maximum size of 6.5mm.
16. White-crossed Seed Bug
The White-crossed Seed bug (Neacoryphus bicrucis) is black and red and not white.
It only has an X-shaped white mark across its dorsum which acts as delimitation for its black and red zones.
The White-crossed Seed bug is a native North and South American species.
This bug has an elongated oval shape and can be found in many open fields across the US at various altitudes.
It’s often seen on sunflower-daisy flowers as these are its favorite host plants.
The species can also feed on other flowers in Asia and Oceania.
17. Mediterranean Red Bug
The Mediterranean Red bug (Scantius aegyptius) is a common migrating red and black bug in the US.
Its populations migrate whenever the weeds they feed on in one area start to die.
Mediterranean Red bugs are commonly seen feeding on knotweed. This is why they are seen in high numbers in Southern California.
These black and red bugs live together. They live in groups of up to a few thousand individuals.
Mediterranean Red bugs also migrate in their thousands so many farmers might wonder about protective action for their crops when seeing them flying.
However, these bugs only care for knotweed and other herbs that don’t grow on crops.
18. Florida Predatory Stink Bug
Florida Predatory Stink bugs (Euthyrhynchus floridanus) are some of the red and black species that live in confined areas of North America.
This type of bug is among the common multicolored stink bugs. It has a base black color with orange spots and green sections on its dorsum.
Seeing a Florida Predatory Stink bug is considered a joyful event as these bugs eat pests. They feed on a wide range of crop pests as they are carnivorous.
A swift change of dietary habits is seen in this species in the absence of its bug pests. It moves on to grasshoppers and other smaller insects that aren’t pests.
19. Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose
The Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose (Triatoma sanguisuga) is one of the larger black and red or black and orange bugs in the US.
It grows up to a size of 21mm and it’s known for biting.
This species sucks the blood of humans and it may spread Chagas disease.
Asa a type of kissing bug, the Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose sucks blood around the mouth while you sleep.
The species doesn’t defecate while feeding such as other kissing bugs which means it’s less likely to spread bacteria and viruses.
Only a handful of Chagas disease causes like the Eastern bloodsucking Conenose have been reported in the United States given the nature of this bug.
20. Charcoal Seed Bug
The Charcoal Seed bug (Melacoryphus lateralis) is a common species of black and red bugs in the Western United States.
Bugs of this genus have red stripes along the sides of the body as well as red marks behind the head.
The bugs may also have some type of gray coloring on the wings which is why they are also known as Charcoal bugs.
You can see these types of bugs across dry and desert scrubland across Western North America.
21. European Firebug
European Firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus) are present in Europe, North America, and Asia. They have an expanding habitat and are often seen across multiple tree species.
These red and black bugs are often confused with similar squash bugs. The body is mostly black with red vertical, diagonal, and horizontal stripes as in squash bugs.
The genus is easy to see as a nymph as this is when young European Firebugs congregate.
Bugs of this genus do not grow alone as they use a primitive form of living in colonies as a defense tactic since they are less likely to be seen as prey whenever they live in groups.
22. California Lady Beetle
This beetle (Coccinella californica) is mostly found in California. Its limited range is what inspires its California Lady beetle name.
This is a type of red and black lady beetle. The elytra have a uniform red color which sometimes appears rusty-red.
2 white spots are seen at the base of the wings.
The thorax of the species is black with further large and small white dots.
The reduced size of the white dots makes this bug appear mostly black and red.
Known for its predatory behavior, the California Lady beetle isn’t a species that lives in all areas of California.
It prefers coastal regions of the state.
23. Shiny Flea Beetle
The Shiny Flea Beetle (Asphaera lustrans) has inverse colors compared to the California Lady beetle.
A red head and thorax and black elytra are specific to the Shiny Flea beetle.
This species is native to the Extreme South of the United States. It lives in states such as Arizona and Florida where it can be seen almost all year.
Mint herbs are among the most common host plants of the Shiny Flea beetle.
The best chance of seeing this bug and its all-red caterpillar is to look for skullcap plants. These are a type of wild mint found in Southern US habitats.
24. Master Blister Beetle
Master Blister Beetles (Lytta magister) have a red upper body and black wings.
Apart from their contrasting colors, Master Blister beetles are mostly known for their impact on bee hives as larvae.
The larvae of Master Blister Beetles are insectivorous as it feeds on bees, but mostly on the provisions of bees.
Bee nests are a major target for the species which initially lays its eggs in the ground next to bee nests.
Deserts such as The Mojave Desert are among the favorites of the species.
Adult Master Blister Beetles then move on to eating flowers and flower leaves. Brittlebush replaces bees and bee provisions as food for adults.
25. Cocklebur Weevil
Cocklebur Weevils (Rhodobaenus quinquepunctatus) feed on cocklebur stems. These weevils also eat ragweed and ragweed roots.
The species is known to attack many types of plants that are related to the sunflower.
Like other weevils, they use an elongated snout to eat through the stems of these plants or to consume the fine roots of the plants.
You can identify the species by its mostly red body with black dots. These bugs have all-black legs.
Weevils of this genus are rather small, rarely reaching a size of 0.5 inches.
Unlike other weevils, they can bore into the ground after plant leaves which means they can kill or stunt growth for many plants of the sunflower genus.
26. Eurasian Red-and-black Melyrid
Eurasian Red-and-black Melyrid bugs (Anthocomus equestris) are an introduced species that are sometimes found indoors or on crops.
This species isn’t a pest as it feeds on various bugs. Some of the bugs it feeds on are pests either in homes or on crops which makes the species beneficial.
Its presence signals the presence of pest bugs in the area.
You can identify this bug with its black and red body. It has a black prothorax and red spiny antennae.
The species is most abundant in the area of Virginia but it has spread throughout multiple other states as well.
This species can be pure red and black in some areas and rust-red and black in other parts of the country.
27. Red-banded Fungus Beetle
Red-banded Fungus Beetles (Megalodacne fasciata) are native to North America.
The species has a shiny body where black and red are the base colors. Its black body is covered in red bands with further black dots on the upper band close to the prothorax.
The head of these bugs is all-black.
Bugs of the genus feed on various plant leaves and they also eat fungus-affected leaves. This can make them a beneficial species but their eating habits are on a small scale to positively impact fungus growth on crops.
These bugs don’t bite animals or people and can be removed by hand when found inside the house.
28. Two-lined Spittlebug
The Two-lined Spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta) is native to the US and possibly to Central America.
It has a black body with either orange or red bands on the wings.
Bugs of this genus feed on very specific trees and shrubs and this means they have a limited range.
Adults and nymphs have their feeding preferences which means they aren’t seen on the same host.
The Two-lined Spittlebug nymph is seen on various grasses. It can even invade lawns and gardens with many decorative types of grass.
Bugs of this genus are known to switch their diet towards small trees as adults.
They feed on holly and eastern redbud trees as adults.
29. Spotless Lady Beetle
These types of ladybirds (Cycloneda sanguinea) are found in Southern US territories. They live in vast habitats of Central and South America as well.
A red-brown dome-shaped elytra is specific to the Spotless Lady beetle, as is a black and white head.
This species might be small but it’s a very common predator. Even its larvae can bite and bugs stay away from it.
Adult Spotless Lady beetles mostly feed on aphids. They establish themselves along plants that are known aphid hosts such as milkweed.
While also seen on other flowers and plants, the Spotless Lady beetle mainly targets aphids that don’t feed on crops but that still feed on other plants.
30. Harlequin Bug
The Harlequin Bug (Murgantia histrionica) is a known cabbage pest in warm areas of North America. This species is found on cabbages and all other related species of the genus.
You can identify them by their black body with red stripes that also exhibit black spots to make them look poisonous.
The Harlequin bug has very specific mating strategies.
This bug even migrates as a mating strategy. Female Harlequin bugs mate with many males before laying eggs.
Competition between males is high. This is why many Harlequin bugs tend to migrate to other areas and plants where they can find females without as many males around.
31. Common Lovebug
Common Lovebugs (Plecia nearctica) are some of the most popular black and red bugs in North America.
This species has 2 flights (3 in Florida) where most drivers see them as spatter problems on vehicles as they’re attracted to lights at night.
Common Lovebugs are primarily known for their atypical mating habits. Male and female remain together for up to a few days since mating. They even fly attached one to another.
These bugs aren’t pests and may be considered mildly beneficial as they eat decaying plant matter.
The larvae of the Common Lovebug feed on decaying plants. Freshly dead and still moist plants are preferred by the larvae of these bugs.
32. Reticulated Net-winged Beetle
The Reticulated Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron reticulatum) is known for its ridged wings which can have either orange or red bands.
This species is only active early in the morning or late in the evening but it has a beneficial role similar to the role of the Common Lovebug larvae.
It feeds on decaying plant matter.
Found around forests as well as in open areas in forests, this bug is primarily focused on finding moist dead plants to feed on in the morning or just before nightfall.
Adult females also use decaying plant matter to lay eggs. A preference for decaying trees for egg-laying has been noted for the Reticulated Net-winged beetle.
33. Squash Vine Borer Moth
This type of moth (Melittia cucurbitae) is one that’s often taken as a wasp or a bee. It has black and red coloring with black wings.
The species is considered a pest on many crops such as zucchini crops.
Its lifecycle begins on the leaves of squash or zucchini. As it grows, it begins to eat the stem of these plants and vegetables essentially killing them.
Chemical action needs to be taken against the Squash Vine Borer moth. Pesticides are known to keep the species away for almost an entire summer season.
34. Cinnabar Moth
The Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae) has a black and red body. Alternating black and red triangular shapes are seen across its body and wings.
This type of moth feeds on pollen but its larvae feed on plants and can even turn cannibalistic.
A high rate of cannibalism among the larvae of the Cinnabar moth leads to a low survival rate for this species.
Once the small number of survival caterpillars pupate into adults they move on to other plants for nectar and pollen.
Ragwort is the most common source of pollen for the native Cinnabar moth.
35. Dark Paper Wasp
The Dark Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus) has a red-brown, black, and yellow color.
This common species of wasp is seen in many wooded areas of North America. It uses wood to create and maintain its nests.
Woodlands are a common home for the species that collect wood for its nest daily.
Dark Paper wasps are social wasps. They live in colonies and a dominant female queen Dark Paper wasps leads the colony and the workers.
While not at the same hierarchy level, many foundress wasps work together with the Dark Paper wasp queen to run the nest.
36. Great Golden Digger Wasp
The Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) is one of the common red and black wasps in the US.
This species can sometimes show white, off-white, or yellow coloring and yellow hairs as well.
Wasps of this genus are diggers which means they create underground nests.
Great Golden Digger wasps dig nests in the ground to lay a single egg and a paralyzed insect.
Females catch and paralyze insects which are then added to the ground and covered up for the emerging Great Golden Digger larvae to feed on.
You can find these nests in clusters as many female Great Golden Digger wasps prefer to dig their nests next to other existing nests.
37. Common Eastern Velvet Ant
The Common Eastern Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla occidentalis) has vivid red and black coloring. This furry-looking is found in many Southern areas of North America.
Most notably, Common Eastern Velvet ants are known for their painful sting. This sting is so painful that there was a legend its pain can kill an adult cow.
Common Eastern Velvet ants are parasitic when it comes to nesting. They use existing wasp nests to lay their egg but they first kill the egg they find in the original nests.
Eastern Cicada killer nests are commonly used by the Common Eastern Velvet ant to lay eggs.
38. Pacific Velvet Ant
The Pacific Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla aureola) resembles the Common Eastern Velvet ant. It has a brown or brow-red and black body without wings and the ability to fly.
This species is known to mimic ants and it can only move on the ground and not fly like wasps.
The Pacific Velvet ant is one of the most common velvet ants found in coastal regions of California.
This parasitic species are diurnal. It can sometimes be seen in arid areas while feeding on various plants and young trees.
You should not handle the Pacific Velvet ant as its long stinger can deliver a painful sting.
39. Swift Feather-legged Fly
The Swift Feather-legged male fly (Trichopoda pennipes) is either red and black or orange and black. The species is native to the US where it feeds on plants.
The larvae of the Swift Feather-legged fly are parasitoid. It feeds on many types of bugs such as squash bugs.
Adults of the species only eat nectar.
They tend to stay in the same areas squash bugs and other types of bugs live as they share the same host plant at times.
Adults continue feeding on various plants while laying eggs on top of the eggs of various bugs such as stink bugs and other species known for also feeding on squash.
40. Shiny Acrobat Ant
Shiny Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster laeviuscula) are common across many countries and they are mostly known to eat wasps.
These types of ants are found both indoors and outdoors. You can even find large numbers of Shiny Acrobat ants indoors as they tend to hind behind walls and in other dark areas.
The Shiny Acrobat ant is one of the species that settle in homes or next to homes where it finds suitable food to survive on.
In many cases, the Shiny Acrobat ant can be found next to homes. It builds nests up on trees where it can multiply into very large colonies.
41. Twice-stabbed Lady Beetle
Twice-stabbed Lady Beetles (Chilocorus stigma) are only black and red in coloring. They have a black body with 2 red dots which makes them look like they’ve been stabbed.
These bugs are small but predatory. They feed on aphids, mealybugs, and other types of invasive woodland bugs they can find in states such as Florida.
The status of the species gives them the privilege of being seen as beneficial as they are often used against invasive bug species instead of using pesticides.
Twice-stabbed Lady beetles tend to emerge in the same location the following year. It overwinters in the ground.
42. Two-lined Leatherwing
Two-lined Leatherwings (Atalantycha bilineata) are also common in forests, just like the Twice-stabbed Lady beetle.
Bugs of this genus have gray to brown wings and a brown to red underside.
Two-lined Leatherwing bugs are a beneficial pollinator in woodlands. They don’t feed on pollen but they spread pollen as they look to eat insects that feed on pollen.
The species gets its name from its soft leather-like wings.
43. Pigeon Horntail
Pigeon Horntails (Tremex columba) have red-brown, black, and yellow coloring.
This large species is known to grow up to a size of 2 inches. It can often be seen indoors but it also lives outdoors, especially in wood.
Pigeon Horntails lay eggs in wood, especially in softwood.
Emerging larvae and even the pupa of the Pigeon Hornatial further feeds on wood.
44. End Band Net-winged Beetle
The End Band Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron terminale) is also known to lay eggs in wood, just as the Pigeon Horntail.
These red and black or red and orange bugs are seen across Northeastern US territories.
Pigeon Horntails grow in dead trees or under the bark of dead trees. They feed on various insects attracted to dead trees.
This bug is known for its deep wing grooves and its long thick black antennae.
45. Pale-bordered Field Cockroach
These types of roaches (Pseudomops septentrionalis) only live outdoors. They feed on various types of plants.
You can identify the species by its elongated body which is mostly around 0.5 inches long.
The wings of the species are black. Its head is brown with off-white margins. The legs and antennae of the Pale-bordered Field cockroach are all-black.
46. Pleasing Fungus Beetle
The Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Megalodacne heros) is a species of bug common on trees.
Bugs of this genus feed and lay eggs on the fungus that grows on many trees. This species is seen on trees such as maple, redbug, and water oak.
Pleasing Fungus beetles are difficult to spot as they often move under tree bark.
Adult Pleasing Fungus beetles are also nocturnal which makes for rare sightings. As the name of the species implies, these bugs feed on fungi but they only affect trees that are already far from healthy.