What are these tiny insects around Cluj people are talking about?

In recent weeks, there has been an increase in the amount of people reporting to have their homes infested with tiny little bugs that they haven't seen before. We've even received emails asking, “what are these bugs?” and so we've decided to fill in some gaps.

Corythucha ciliata (Hemiptera, Tingidae) Sycamore Lace Bug

These insects are known locally as “tigrul platanului”, with their scientific name being Corythucha ciliata and common English name “sycamore lace bug” and are considered an invasive species in Europe, after being introduced from North America.

The insect was first reported in Craiova in 1990, and then later in 2011, in Sibiu, and has slowly been finding its way around Romania, and now we're talking about them in Cluj-Napoca.

Why are we seeing them everywhere?

People have been reporting that they have “infested” their homes, with them showing up all over the place, and also in / on their beds.

The primary reason we're starting to see them more and more, is due to the temperatures, which have been high across Romania in general, over the past few weeks. Especially, as these insects are pretty much only active during the day, where temperatures are above 30°C.

Do they bite?

Some have reported that these insects have bitten or stung them leaving irritation. These insects are attracted to light colours, such as bright shirts / dresses, and also bed sheets.

These insects, however, are not known to sting humans. It's a herbivorous species, it feeds on the cellulose content of plantain leaves and occasionally, when it is in very, very large numbers and insects fall or fly from the surface of the leaves to the surface of human skin, then stings them, probably confusing their skin with the surface of the plantain leaf.

If you wish to indulge yourself in a research paper on the matter of these insects biting people in Romania, read the following attachment: Facultative blood-sucking lace bugs, Corythucha sp., in Romania

How to we get rid of them?

According to Dr. Adrian Ruicănescu, a researcher, of entomology (study of insects), said, “There are two species both found in Cluj starting this year. After this explosion will begin to settle, we have to get used to, a year or two”.

In other words, we're likely going to have to get used to them for a little while. Especially, as Professor Ruicăneanu claims that there is nothing that can be done to combat these insects, and that nature will have to regulate itself.

In their own ecosystem, they have evolved along with other insects, plus bacteria and viruses, which control and maintain these populations within normal limits. In the new areas, these insects do not have their own enemies, so the population is not kept under control. 

“If we intervene, with chemicals, we do nothing but “frustrate” the appearance or adaptation of some native species, which could find these bedbugs as a food source. These can only be small spiders or small wasps, such as the one in the photo “, says the specialist.

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