This is not necessarily tree related, but it is something I haven’t seen before at our yard and house in Highland Village, Texas. Over the past few days, thousands of small round insects are covering the back patio and coming into the house. Upon some investigation, these are “White-Lined Burrowing Bugs” and are completely harmless other than being a nuisance. What I am seeing is the immature form of the insect.
Here is a nice little blurb written by Mike Merchant, entomologist at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in North Dallas: “A small (4-7mm), shining blue-black insect is abundant in gardens and turf right now (May, 1998). It is Sehirus cinctus, a member of the burrowing bug family. Unlike most burrowing bugs (some of which can be agricultural pests in crops grown in sandy soils), however, Sehirus cinctus lives its life aboveground, feeding on the developing seeds of mints and nettles. It is frequently seen feeding on henbit, a small mint plant and common weed in some lawns. Despite its sometime alarming numbers, this tiny bug is not harmful and will not affect the growth or development of flowers.” (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/misc/burrowingbug.html)
Here is a picture I took of a couple of them on the mat at our back door. You can see the very distinctive 3 black bands on top of the insect’s abdomen. Both are immature insects, the one on the right is beginning to show the development of wings:
For those that might be interested, I took this very amateur photo with my Samsung Galaxy II phone equipped with a Easy-Macro attachment. The Easy-Macro is nothing more that a magnifying glass lens in a rubber band that goes around the camera and sits over the phone’s camera lens. Not too bad for a quick photo of tiny insects.