Scientific name: Metapoplax ditimoides
Size: 3-4mm (body length)
Where found: In the house, falling from a skylight
The seed bug Metapoplax ditimoides (family: Oxycarenidae) is relatively new to our area. Originally from the Mediterranean, it was first detected on the west coast in Oregon in 1998, and in Sonoma County in 2002.
Several concerned residents have called the District because these insects have been found in large numbers indoors. The specimen from the photograph was one of many individuals that had crawled into a skylight, presumably to take cover for winter. When warm weather returned, the insects attempted to exit the light fixture and ended up in the resident's kitchen. Excluding these insects from structures is difficult due to their small size, but sealing cracks and crevices may help to prevent future infestations. If an indoor infestation is discovered, these insects may be vacuumed up- preferably with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) equipped vacuum and disposed of.
More information about this insect is available from volume 22 of the California Plant Pest and Disease Report.