Boxelder bugs are black insects commonly seen in plants or trees. They have this thin orange to red-orange borders found on their wing coverings or elytra. The short orange line usually runs down the middle part of its thorax.
They have red large eyes that are bulging on the sides of the head. You will also find two red spots near them. These characteristics make them unique among other nuisance insects in your home.
Juveniles or nymphs and adults don’t look the same. Nymphs have red bodies and have a yellow or orange spot in the middle. The undeveloped coverings of their wings are black and short.
Nymphs usually go with older box elder bugs and form large groups. They are usually found on the side of houses or sometimes on trees. These insects are commonly found near boxelder bushes. Thus, the name of the insects.
They love the sunny and warm side of buildings or homes. Females usually spend the winter inside walls and only lay eggs by spring.
Identifying This Bug
The scientific name of boxelder bug is boisea trivittata and is from the category true bug. They have this oval-shaped body and are usually infesting host trees or houses. These insects are usually clustered together or found in large numbers.
Behaviours and Habits
These insects usually live on seed-bearing boxelder trees and silver maple trees on the warmer seasons. For them to live, they feed on the seeds, leaves, and flowers of either plants, bushes, or trees. They can also be found eating the fruits of plum and apple trees.
During autumn, they will gather in groups to enjoy warmer sunshine. On the colder months, they will usually seek shelter in warmer homes or buildings. Because of their small size of around 0.43 to 0.55 inch long, they might have already entered a home without anyone noticing. They can easily fit in every crack and crevice.
Aside from being considered pests during fall, they can also be considered pests during spring as they try to go back outside. They stay dormant during winter inside your home and then head outside, as the climate gets warmer.
Should You Be Worried about an Infestation?
Though these are scentless plant bugs, they give off a staining dye when crushed. When you find any of these insects in your living space, it is advisable that you use a vacuum cleaner or a paper towel to remove them.
They only seek shelter in your home during the cold season. However, they become a pest when they start living in a certain place in groups. If you are trying to grow fruits and flowers, they may affect the fruits and flowers.
Though they can rarely destroy plants, they might ruin fruits from trees. Also, if some of these bugs die due to overwintering, it might attract other pests or beetles in your home.
If ever you get bitten by these bugs, they will often leave a bite mark similar to mosquitoes. Your reaction to their bites depends on your sensitivity to the bites. You can experience the same local reaction like mosquito bites, but this rarely happens.