Nebraska Extension Educator Gary Lesoing submitted a sample of a small reddish-black bug found in high numbers in a soybean field near Beatrice, Neb. Jim Kalisch, Insect Diagnostic Clinic coordinator, identified it as a White-margined Burrower Bug nymph, Sehirus cinctus.
These have been seen periodically in Nebraska and Kansas in a variety of crops, says Robert Wright. The Kansas State University Insect Newsletter from July 1, 2011 provides a short summary of their biology.
These bugs overwinter as adults, become active in the spring, and lay eggs, which usually hatch in mid-May, says the University of Nebraska entomologist. Their preferred host plants include henbit, other mints, and nettles. They prefer to feed on seeds of these plants. After henbit or other hosts are terminated by herbicides or cultivation, large numbers of nymphs move to nearby crop plants to feed. Typically they do not cause economic damage to crop plants.
The adults are ¾-inch long, shiny black insects with a white margin; they look similar to stink bugs. The nymphs are red with black blotches on the abdomen.