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Boxelder Bug

This bug may be seen in large numbers, but it's more of a nuisance indoors than a problem outside.

Somewhere, sometime, chances are you'll be asked, "What are all those red and black bugs swarming all over my maple tree? There are thousands of them! How can I get rid of them?"

This bug is a nuisance but it doesn't bite, and it's not a landscape pest. The biggest hassle the boxelder bug presents: it's attracted to warm, dry places in the winter, and in cooler climates in the fall, large numbers may try to enter homes.

The boxelder bug has three stripes on its prothorax (the first segment behind its head), a key identifying feature that distinguishes it from squash bugs and small milkweed bugs.

Only adult boxelder bugs survive the winter. In the spring, the female lays her eggs in the female boxelder tree, and the young, bright red nymphs feed on the leaves, seedpods and flowers of the boxelder(and sometimes on maple and ash) trees.

The bugs usually does little significant damage to the trees. Sometimes it feeds on the fruits of peach, apple, pear, almond and plum trees, causing the fruit to become distorted, but it's not considered a serious agricultural problem.

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