The western conifer seed bug has become well established in Massachusetts where many residents have come to know the bug as a major nuisance pest within homes. The western conifer seed bug is an invasive species in the United States where it was first documented on the west coast. Initially this species was described as a pest to trees in the state of California, but as this species slowly moved across the US into more temperate climates, it began to infest homes during the fall season in order to seek shelter from the winter cold. It is rare for a non-native insect species to become established in every region of the United States, but the western conifer seed bug pulled off this feat over the course of nearly a century.

The western conifer seed bug was first documented in California back in 1910, but by 1956, this species reached the state of Iowa in the midwest. By the 1990s, the seed bug arrived in New York state. Since then, the seed bug has proliferated to nuisance proportions in the northeast and into Canada where Massachusetts residents can expect to find these bugs gravitating into homes during the fall. According to researchers, the seed bug’s expanding habitat in the US was largely aided by interstate commerce.

In Massachusetts, homeowners who experience an infestation of western conifer seed bugs often mistake the insect with the Asian longhorned beetle due to their similar appearance. Residents also commonly confuse the western conifer seed bug with stink bugs, as both of these common nuisance pests emit a foul smelling odor which often permeates the homes that they infest.

While the western conifer seed bug is a nuisance pest species in homes, expert sources say that the bugs do not sting or bite. However, three years ago researchers documented the first ever case of an individual sustaining a bite from a western conifer seed bug. This individual was bitten while researching the bug in Budapest, Hungary. The bite caused painful irritation and a lesion that lasted for two days. Researchers, however, still do not consider the seed bug to be a biting insect pest; instead, researchers believe that this particular bite case was a fluke, and that the seed bug likely bit the man after mistaking his finger for a seed or a shoot from a coniferous tree.

Have you ever experienced an infestation of western conifer seed bugs?