Pangaeus bilineatus Say Hemiptera Cydnidae

Natural History

Distribution. This native species is found from New England and Quebec west to South Dakota and southern California, and south to Florida. It also occurs south through Mexico to Guatemala, and is known from Bermuda. It is the most common member of the family.

Host Plants. Burrowing bug is known as an occasional pest of pepper, spinach, strawberries, peanut, cotton, sugarcane and wheat. Crops are rarely reported to be damaged, though there are several records of injury to peanut in Texas; other cydnids are also implicated, with P. bilineatus the most numerous pest.

Natural Enemies. Few natural enemies are known from this insect. The strepsipteran Triozocerca mexicana Pierce parasitizes both nymphs and adults, and southern fire ant, Solenopsis xyloni McCook, feeds on eggs and young nymphs (Smith and Pitts, 1974).

Life Cycle and Description. This species is poorly known, undoubtedly due to its infrequent importance as a pest. In Texas, burrowing bugs overwinter as adults. They emerge from diapause and commence mating in March (Cole, 1988). Bugs enter crop fields in April, and deposit eggs singly in the soil. The bugs develop below-ground, with feeding injury caused by both adults and nymphs. Nymphs are present until autumn. Apparently there is a single generation per year. The bugs burrow into the soil to overwinter, and usually dig to a depth of at least 15 cm.

Pangaeus bilineatus is normally blackish, though sometimes reddish-brown. The adult is oval, and measures 5.2-7.8 mm long and about 3 mm wide. The legs are blackish-brown and the tibiae bear numerous stout spines. The front tibiae are modified for digging. The scutellum is large and triangular, extending over about one-half the length of the abdomen. Adults and nymphs release noxious chemical secretions when disturbed, a behavior that undoubtedly is a defensive response (Scheffrahn et al., 1987). Although closely related to stink bugs (Pentatomidae), burrowing bug

Thyreocoridae Bug
Adult burrowing bug.

is most likely confused with little negro bug, Corime-laena pulicaria (Germar) (Thyreocoridae), owing to the oval shape and blackish color.

Elements of biology were given by Gould (1931), Smith and Pitts (1974), and Cole (1988). Taxonomy was discussed, and bibliographic citations provided by Sailer (1954).


Burrowing bug damage is usually described as injury to young plants as the seedling emerges from seeds. The adults and nymphs feed below-ground, mostly on seeds and plant roots, resulting in plant damage or death. However, they also cause brown spots or "pitting" on developing peanut seeds (Smith and Pitts, 1974).


Burrowing bug populations can be monitored with light traps that employ white light (Highland and Lummus, 1986), though there may not be a strong relationship between light trap catches and crop infestation levels. They also can be collected with pitfall traps (Huffman and Harding, 1980). In areas with a history of burrowing bug damage, insecticides can be applied to the soil to prevent injury to seedlings.

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  • rodolfo
    Are peanut burrow bugs dangerous?
    8 years ago

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