All About Boxelder Bugs and The Boxelder Trees They Feed Upon

Boxelder Bugs, Boxelder Trees & The Indoors

If you have a large garden full of plants and flowers or a yard that’s filled with trees, you’ve likely seen boxelder bugs. These insects feed on boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs are not physically harmful to humans per se, but their presence can be a nuisance. Here are the facts about these bugs and their impact on your surroundings.

What Are Boxelder Bugs?

Boxelder bugs get their name for their tendency to inhabit and feed on Boxelder trees. The bugs are found mostly in the western United States in states including Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and the Pacific coast. But they also reside in the eastern U.S. and throughout Canada. Boxelder bugs are bothersome and tend to enter homes and garages during the winter for shelter from the harsh weather. They emerge in the spring. Generally, in early spring they leave their winter abodes, seeking to mate and flourish. By April female boxelder bugs have begun to lay eggs in nearby boxelder trees, but also in surrounding environs such as stones, leaves, and even nearby buildings.

Boxelder bugs are black and have red or orange markings on their backs. The bugs are about one or two inches long and have six legs and antennae. They belong to the order of insect called Hemiptera, also known as true bugs. This order of insect includes many different species such as cicadas and aphids. Scientifically, boxelder bugs are known as Boisea trivittata.

Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

Boxelder bugs are generally harmless, but they can be irritating, especially when there are several of them in one area. The bugs suck the sap from the leaves and twigs of Boxelder trees and other trees that are in the maple family. The bugs also consume the seeds of these trees. They relax on the trunk and branches of the tree to take in the sunlight. They also sun themselves on the west or south sides of buildings to get sun.

Boxelder bugs don’t normally bite, but there are reports of them biting in self-defense if they are being attacked. They don’t carry any known diseases and they don’t sting, so they aren’t likely to hurt you if you come into contact with them.

Boxelder Trees

A boxelder tree is a fast growing maple tree. Some of these trees are male and some are considered female. The females bear blossoms that when pollinated turn bright green. These female trees attract the boxelder bug. They are usually not problematic when feeding upon the boxelder tree, however, they do become problematic when the weather gets colder and they begin to enter your home or building.

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

To keep boxelder bugs out of your home, seal all of your doors and fill any holes in the walls with caulk. Seal your windows tightly and consider adding screens to the windows for additional protection from bugs. Be sure to seal all baseboards so that the bugs can’t get through this barrier. If you find the bugs in your walls or window openings, try to sweep them away instead of killing them. Dead boxelder bugs can attract dermestid beetles, which can lead to an even bigger bug problem.

If you find boxelder bugs in the home or building or if you want to know how to manage the boxelder trees in your yard, contact NJ Pest Control. Our team will assess the situation and customize a plan for eliminating these bugs so that you, your family or tenants are at peace of mind. Contact NJ Pest Control here.