Skip to main content

Learning Center

Box Elder Bugs

Box elder bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around box elder trees. This species is native to the western states, but can be found wherever box elder trees are found.

What Do Boxelder Bugs Look Like?:

Boxelder bugs are black with reddish or orange markings on their back. Adult boxelder bugs have a body shape that is a somewhat-flattened and elongated oval and is about half an inch long. They have six legs and two antennae that are typically half of their body length. Nymphs look similar to adults but lack wings and are bright red in color.

Where Do Boxelder Bugs Live?:

Boxelder bugs are native to the western United States, but can be found from eastern Canada throughout the eastern U.S. and west to eastern Nevada, wherever boxelder trees are found. They emerge from hibernation in spring and spend the warm months feeding on their host trees until cool temperatures move in.

What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat?:

Boxelder bugs feed mainly on boxelder tree seeds and newly developing leaves, which may result in discoloration of the foliage. They will also occasionally feed on the fruits of plum and apple trees.

What Risks Do Boxelder Bugs Bring?:

Boxelder bugs can become a significant nuisance when large groups of them invade homes. They are not known to bite, but their piercing-sucking mouthparts can occasionally puncture skin when they are handled, causing a slight irritation and producing a red spot similar to a mosquito bite. When crushed or handled roughly, boxelder bugs sometimes produce a strong, unpleasant odor and their fecal material can leave reddish-orange stains that result in fabric discoloration

Exclude From Learning Center: 

Worried about boxelder bugs?

Talk to an expert technician today.

Get a Free Inspection