Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) are a type of tree bug found mostly on boxelder, maple, and ash trees. While they are not harmful or destructive, boxelder bugs can be a pest when they move into your home.
Boxelder bugs have a distinctive appearance. Adults are about 1/2″ long with a dark brown or black color with reddish-orange veins and markings on the thorax and sides. Boxelder bugs have flat red wings. Nymph boxelder bugs are a bright red color. Nymphs develop black markings and black wing pads as they mature.
Boxelder bugs live in boxelder, maple, and ash trees while the weather is warm, but they move into homes for shelter when the weather gets chilly. During the spring, adult boxelder bugs mate in the tree leaves and deposit eggs. This insect feeds on the soft parts of the tree, eating flowers, new growth, and leaves. These bugs are usually easy to spot in large numbers on branches.
They can make their way inside through tiny cracks and stay inside to hibernate through the fall and winter. They can remain active inside walls and house siding even while the weather is cool. A home’s heating system can make the bugs falsely believe it’s summer and revive them from hibernation at which point they will move inside the home for food.
Boxelder bugs do not cause damage inside a home, but they do leave droppings and stains. They usually do not do much damage to the trees on which they feed, but they can become a nuisance during the fall.
In the spring, boxelder bugs deposit reddish-brown eggs that are well hidden in the boxelder tree. The eggs hatch into gray and red nymphs after a few days. The nymphs grow larger and eventually develop into adults by the summer, at which point they mate and lay eggs. Adult and nymph boxelder bugs may periodically migrate in large groups to cover the side of a home, the ground, or a tree trunk.
Eliminating a Boxelder Bug Problem
Once boxelder bugs establish themselves in a home, they can be difficult to remove. The best way to eliminate the problem is prevention during the fall. Pest control spraying can prevent boxelder bugs, ladybugs, and similar pests from entering the home during the fall. Sealing cracks around utility service openings, in the foundation, and around doors and windows can also keep the pests out. If boxelder bugs are becoming a nuisance on your property, contact Pest Defense Solutions El Paso today so we can develop a custom treatment plan for you.