Primarily a nuisance pest that creates little economic damage, this insect has recently attracted attention because of increasing complaints. Residents report bugs by the hundreds invading their homes, hiding in the furniture and flying into people. Arhyssus barberi is a “scentless” plant bug, but residents report a “piney” odor. The worst infestation in 2013 was in the area of Cricket Flats, Oregon.
Scientists are beginning to collect more information on the biology for insight into management options. Known colloquially as the “grass bug” the species identity was only recently confirmed as Arhyssus barberi. Arhyssus barberi is a native species, not an invasive, so many questions will focus on environmental factors that create such large populations. Perhaps cultural practices have changed to allow more habitat for the pest? One possible factor in increased numbers is noticeably warmer winter temperatures in the Northwestern United States. If that is the main factor, new control measures may be needed. Hemiptera are notoriously difficult to kill with pesticide sprays. Sprays are expensive and can cause environmental damage. Entomologists hope to find cultural practices or biological control that will mitigate the home invasions.