Boxelder bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees. The boxelder bug population lives and thrives during the warmer months on maple and seed-bearing boxelder trees, where they lay their eggs and feed on leaves, flowers and seeds. Occasionally, they will feed on the fruits of plum and apple trees.
Are Boxelder Bugs “Stink Bugs?”
While boxelder bugs are, in fact, quite pungent, they differ from what we often call the “Stink Bug.” That honor belongs to a different family of (equally unpleasant) bugs. When disturbed, boxelder bugs will release a bad-smelling and poor-tasting compound. Boxelder bugs are harmless and do not bite or sting, but while they are generally harmless to property, large amounts of the boxelder bugs’ secretion can stain surfaces. They can also leave orange stains on your clothing, furniture and drapes, so refrain from smashing them.
Additional Pest Information
Appearance – Boxelder bugs can be identified by their dark brown or black color broken up red markings on the abdomen and red wing veins. Their wings cross over their bodies, laying flat to form an ‘X.’ They also sport three colored lines behind the head.
Biology – Seeking warmth, boxelder bugs will gather in the walls and siding of homes, offices, and other buildings during the winter and emerge in the spring to feed and lay eggs. During the winter season, the warmth of your home heating system might cause boxelder bugs to emerge prematurely and seek sustenance in your house. Homes with lots of southern or western exposure and a high amount of sunlight may also attract more boxelder bugs.
Prevention – The first line of defense is to remove the boxelder tree if it is on your property. This will all but eliminate your problem. If the tree is not on your property you will need to take measures to prevent boxelder bugs from invading your home, such as repairing holes in window and door screens, sealing cracks and crevices with a good quality caulk, and installing door sweeps to all exterior entrances. If boxelder bugs are already in your home, do not kill them in your wall voids. This can attract other pests. Use a vacuum to remove them. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag in your garbage and seal it tight. If a boxelder infestation is suspected, a licensed pest control operator should be called to evaluate and assess the problem.
The experts at Griffin Pest Solutions can assist in boxelder bug removal from your home or business, but there are at-home steps you can take to prevent an infestation from happening in the first place.
Boxelder Bug Prevention Tips
1. Install door sweeps on exterior doors and rubber seals on garage doors.
2. Use caulk or copper mesh to seal spots where phone wires, television wires, pipes, and vents enter and exit the building.
3. Repair or install window and door screens.