Boxelder Bug Facts
In the fall, boxelder bugs will congregate in large numbers on the south side of trees, rocks and buildings, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Then as the days get colder they will seek shelter for hibernating during the winter. This is when these pests will sneak through cracks in your doors, windows and foundation and then call your wall voids and attic their home for the winter. Boxelder bugs are just an annoyance and are harmless. On warm winter days you may find some wandering around your living space where they will leave reddish stains from their droppings on your curtains and other surfaces and emit a bad smell when crushed. Boxelder bugs are found throughout the eastern United States and west to eastern Nevada.
Boxelder Bug Bites
Boxelder bugs very rarely, if ever, bite people. The mouthparts of these insects do have the ability to prick skin and may leave a tiny red dot, but are otherwise harmless.
Boxelder Bug Infestation
These insects primarily suck sap from leaves, seeds and young twigs of seed-bearing boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs will also feed on seed-bearing silver maple trees and have been known to drink the juice from plums and apples. Boxelder bugs emerge from their winter hiding places in the spring, when the boxelder trees begin to bud. Females will find a protected crevice, usually in the bark of a tree, to lay their eggs. The eggs are yellowish at first then become more red as they get closer to hatching. There are often two generations of boxelder bugs per summer in warmer regions of the United States. Larger populations of boxelder bugs have been connected to longer summers that are hot and dry. Boxelder bugs will begin gathering in large numbers in the autumn, usually resting where the sunlight hits the side of a house, rock or tree. Then they will search for a protected place whether it be a tree hole or wall void to spend the winter. The name boxelder bug comes from the fact that these insects live, breed and feed upon boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs will hide in the bark of the boxelder tree, but other common hiding places include rocks, leaves and other debris, stacks of firewood and, of course, attics and wall voids.
Types of Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder Bug Identification
Commonly confused as: pine seed bug or western conifer seed bug
Boxelder bugs are usually about 1⁄2 inch long with flat backs. Their bodies are a dark brown, almost black color and they have three reddish stripes behind their heads and two more red strips on each wing. The forewings of boxelder bugs begin thick and tough at the base then become more thin and transparent toward the tips, while the hind wings are completely membranous. Boxelder bugs have mouthparts made for piercing and sucking.
Boxelder Bugs In The Home & The Apartment
Boxelder bugs become pests in the fall when they enter your house to hibernate. Also, on warm days throughout the winter and early spring, the insects become active. Then you may see boxelder bugs crawling around in your living space.
Frequently Asked Questions About Western Pine-Seed Bugs
How do you prevent boxelder bug infestations?
You can prevent a boxelder bug infestation by clearing your yard of any potential hiding places like rocks, stacked firewood and other debris. Seal any cracks or crevices that the insects could use to enter your home. Be sure to use proper screening in windows and summer doors. A preventative treatment can be applied on the exterior of the home before boxelder bugs enter the building to hibernate. Treat the foundation, the eaves where the insects can slip in through the soffits and any other cracks or crevices in the building. If the boxelder bugs have already infested attics and wall voids, they can be sucked up with a strong vacuum.
Benefits of Professional Boxelder Bug Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address an boxelder bug problem. Finding and treating the boxelder bugs can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the boxelder bug infestation.