Boxelder Bug: How to Identify and Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

If boxelder bugs have infested your house, then this guide will teach you how to identify them, understand the potential damage, and effectively rid your home of boxelder bugs and prevent them from returning.

What is a Boxelder Bug?

Boxelder bugs are ‘true bugs’ that belong to the order Hemiptera in the family Rhopalidaethe, which includes stink bugs, cicadas, and other insects with piercing and sucking mouthparts. When crushed, they release an unpleasant smell.

Life Cycle of a Boxelder Bug

Adults survive the winter sheltered beneath loose tree bark, in plant debris, or in homes, garages, and outbuildings. They emerge as the weather warms in spring. Staying close to the ground, they feed for two weeks on boxelder seeds and other vegetation before starting the mating cycle.

Do Boxelder Bugs Bite?

Although boxelder bugs are not known to bite, their piercing-sucking mouthparts have been known to puncture the skin on rare occasions, causing a slight itch and leaving a red spot resembling a mosquito bite.

How to Identify Box Elder Bugs

Adult boxelder bugs, the stage most often seen in homes, are dark with three distinct orange or red markings the first centered behind its head, the other two running along the sides of its body. The adult’s abdomen is also orange. About 1/2 inch long, its dark wings cross along its back.

Damage Caused by Boxelder Bugs

These nuisance pests can cause varying degrees of damage both indoors and outdoors.

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