Hawthorn Shield Bug

Hawthorn Shield Bug ©Amy Lewis

Hawthorn shieldbug

Scientific name: Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale
Our largest shieldbug, the red-and-green hawthorn shieldbug can be seen in gardens, parks and woodlands, feeding on hawthorn, rowan and whitebeam. The adults hibernate over winter.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 1.3-1.7cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to October

About

The hawthorn shieldbug is the shieldbug species that you are most likely to encounter. This handsome invertebrate can be found wherever suitable shrubby foodplants are available - from garden to woodland. Eggs are laid in spring and, over the summer, the nymphs feed on ripening red berries, particularly hawthorn, but also rowan, whitebeam and cotoneaster. The adults appear from late August and will often wander quite far from their foodplant, occasionally being attracted to lights at night, when they may turn up in moth traps. The adults go into hibernation in the late autumn, emerging again in the spring to breed.

How to identify

There are five similar green-and-red shieldbugs. The gorse shieldbug is more rounded than the hawthorn shieldbug, while the hairy shieldbug is covered in short hairs and has a black-and-white-chequered pattern around the edge of the body. The birch and juniper shieldbugs are both similar in shape to the hawthorn shieldbug, but are much smaller and have a different pattern.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Shieldbugs are also known as 'stink bugs' due to their ability to release a strong-smelling fluid when threatened. Pick up a hawthorn shieldbug and its predator-repellent may stain your fingers.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.