My kapok tree is infested by these red bugs, about 1/2 inch long when full size (I have all sorts of “juniors” as well). 6 legs plus antennas, two black dots between first and second pairs of legs and about 3 whitish stripes across what I presume is the abdomen. How do I get rid of them? We live about a half hour from Tampa in Florida, very close to water. I didn’t see any of these last fall on the tree but it is truly infested now. Thanks
it is a nymph of a cotton stainer bug. This genus of bugs are called that because their feeding on cotton will produce a stain on the lint!
There are several species of cotton stainers and several do live in FL. Yours is probably the species that is called cotton stainer, but the nymphs can look very similar. A photo of the adult would let us know for sure.
Both the adult and nymphs feed on plants in the Mallow family which includes kapok trees, hibiscus, cotton, and many others.
These bugs are found in southern US.