Boxelder Bugs

Discover everything you need to know about boxelder bugs in our guide below.

what are boxelder bugs
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Boisea trivittata

What Are Boxelder Bugs?

Boxelder bugs (scientific name Boisea trivittata) are common throughout North America. 

While they are primarily a nuisance pest, they can invade homes in large numbers, especially as colder weather approaches – which is annoying for homeowners. 

Removing boxelder bugs can be challenging and often requires a combination of pest removal tactics. 

The Behavior, Diet, and Habits of Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs begin life as eggs, which adult females lay in the crevices of boxelder tree bark in early spring. The eggs hatch and become small, red nymphs, eventually going through a series of molts, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow. 

Adults are usually about ½” long and have a flat, elongated body. They have distinctive black and orange-red markings and a V-shaped pattern on their wings. 

These insects are most visible in warmer months when they congregate on sunny building exteriors and in trees. During the late summer and fall, they gather in large numbers as they prepare to overwinter in warm, sheltered environments. 

Boxelder bugs feed mainly on the sap from boxelder trees. Occasionally, they also feed on other members of the Acer tree family, including maple and ash trees. Since their diet depends on the sap these trees produce, they’re usually found in areas where these trees are abundant.

boxelder bugs behavior and diet
boxelder bugs damage

What Damage Do Boxelder Bugs Cause?

Fortunately for homeowners, boxelder bugs don’t usually cause serious damage to homes or plants. They also don’t bite or spread diseases to people or pets.

That said, they do invade homes in large numbers, and their droppings can stain surfaces like curtains, walls, and clothing. Squishing them can also create an unpleasant aroma.

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

To eliminate boxelder bugs, start by inspecting for and identifying the pests. Examine areas like the exterior of your home, as well as your basement, attic, and crawl space. 

Once you identify their harborage areas, you’ll need to treat the infestation. While it may be tempting to reach for the pesticides, boxelder bugs tend to be highly tolerant to insecticides, so that’s not the best way to get rid of them. 

Instead, focus on sealing any cracks or openings in your home’s exterior, including areas around windows, doors, and foundations. For best results, use a high-quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk.

In addition to sealing entry points, keep your yard tidy and remove debris like leaves or woodpiles. If you have boxelder or maple trees on your property, consider removing them.

For more information on how to get rid of boxelder bugs in and around your home, check out our complete guide

If your ant problems remain severe or you can’t resolve them with DIY efforts, contact a professional pest management team for help. 

Explore Resources

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In the short term, yes. Boxelder bugs tend to disappear on their own as the seasons change. During the cold months, they enter homes looking for warmth and shelter, but they move back outdoors during warm weather. 

That said, we don’t recommend just waiting until the boxelder infestation goes away. While your initial infestation may resolve as the seasons change, this won’t fix the underlying issue. To prevent future infestations, take proactive steps like sealing gaps and cracks and installing door sweeps in your home. 

Boxelder bugs have several natural predators, including birds, small mammals, and arthropods, like spiders and praying mantises.

Insecticidal soap is a safe, eco-friendly option that kills boxelder bugs on contact.

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