Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Oeciacus vicarius - Swallow Bug

Swallow bug, Oeciacus vicarius - Oeciacus vicarius Swallow bug, Oeciacus vicarius - Oeciacus vicarius Swallow bug, Oeciacus vicarius - Oeciacus vicarius Oeciacus vicarius? - Oeciacus vicarius Oeciacus vicarius? - Oeciacus vicarius Oeciacus vicarius Horvath - Oeciacus vicarius Oeciacus vicarius (Swallow Bug) - Oeciacus vicarius From BC - Oeciacus vicarius
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Cimicomorpha
Superfamily Cimicoidea
Family Cimicidae (Bed Bugs)
Subfamily Cimicinae
Genus Oeciacus
Species vicarius (Swallow Bug)
Other Common Names
American Swallow Bug, Cliff Swallow Bug
Explanation of Names
Oeciacus vicarius Horváth 1912
Identification
Pronotal hairs longer than the width of the eye, and as long as antennomeres 3 & 4
Meso- & metacoxae widely separated; proboscis does not reach mesocoxae
Range
much of NA, north to NF-AK, but mostly in the west; not associated with swallows in their South American wintering quarters(1)(2)(3)
Habitat
hosts: hole-nesting birds, such as swallows; generally closely associated on cliff swallows Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, but recently reported on barn swallows Hirundo rustica and purple martins Progne subis(4); adults and nymphs may come indoors in large numbers in response to the removal of nearby bird nests; in the absence of other hosts, they will bite humans(3)
Season
assemble in the empty swallow nests in April; when migrating swallows return to the nests, the bugs take blood meals(3)
Life Cycle
eggs are laid within 24 h of feeding and hatch in 3-5 days; development to adult takes ~60 days; adults are long lived and will mate and reproduce as long as food is available. Adults disperse to other nesting colonies by clinging onto the feathers of the host as it seeks for suitable nest sites. During the fall and winter when the birds are absent, the adults seek alternative hosts (e.g. mice, bats, other birds) or remain in the empty nest - the bugs can survive for up to a year without food.(3)(4)
Remarks
one of main sources of mortality for swallow nestlings; principal vector of Buggy Creek virus and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus(4)
Print References
Loye J.E. (1985) Life history and ecology of Oeciacus vicarius. Cah. ORSTOM. set. Ent. med. et. Parasitol. 23: 133-139 (Full text)
Brown C.R., Brown M.B. (2005) Between-group transmission dynamics of the swallow bug, Oeciacus vicarius. J. Vector Ecology 30: 137-143 (Full text)
Works Cited
1.Checklist of the Hemiptera of Canada and Alaska
Maw, H.E.L., R.G. Foottit, K.G.A. Hamilton and G.G.E. Scudder. 2000. NRC Research Press.
2.Alaskan Heteroptera (Hemiptera): New records, associated data, and deletions
Scudder G.G.E., Sikes D.S. 2014. Zootaxa 3852: 373-381.
3.Handbook of urban insects and arachnids: A handbook of urban entomology
Robinson W.H. 2005. Cambridge University Press.
4.Heteroptera of economic importance
Schaefer C.W., Panizzi A.R. (eds). 2000. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 828 pp.