Boxelder Bug

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

Font
  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends

x

All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.

Refresh

Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail

Success!

A link to %this page% was e-mailed

Box Elder Bug

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.

We Recommend...

Beneficial Bug: The Hover Fly

Beneficial Bug: The Hover Fly

Familiar garden predators like ladybugs and praying mantises often get all the credit for controlling bad bugs. Check out what...

House Centipede

House Centipede

Harmless and even beneficial, this insect can point to other problems in the home.

Invite Dragonflies Into Your Garden

Invite Dragonflies Into Your Garden

Inviting dragonflies into your garden can provide a lot of magic and fewer mosquitoes.

Advertisement

HGTV Outdoors Newsletter

Find out how to make the most of patios, decks and all your outdoor areas, plus tips from master gardeners for beautiful flower beds and bountiful vegetable gardens.