Boxelder bugs get their name from the boxelder trees they are often found on and around.
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.
Boxelder Bugs vs Stink Bugs
While boxelder bugs are, in fact, quite pungent, they differ from what we call the “Stink Bug.” That honor belongs to a different family of (equally unpleasant) bugs that are brown and leaf-shaped.
When disturbed or crushed, boxelder bugs will release a bad-smelling and poor-tasting compound – making them a sort of black and red stink bug.
This natural deterrent reminds predators to stay away. Be careful dispatching boxelders in your home – this secretion can leave orange stains on carpet, drapes or clothing.
Additional Pest Info
What does a Boxelder bug look like?
Adult boxelder bugs are ½ “long. They are dark brown or black but have distinctive red or orange markings on their abdomen and wings. Boxelders have six legs and two black antennae. Their wings cross and lay flat over their bodies, forming an ‘X’ shape.
Baby boxelder bugs – or nymphs – look like miniature adults but are wingless and bright red in color. As they grow, the nymphs become darker in color and grow their wings.
When do Boxelder bugs try to get into homes?
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.
Do Boxelder Bugs bite?
Boxelder bugs are mostly harmless. They do not sting but have been known to bite on occasion in self-defense. In most cases a boxelder bug bite will be no worse than a mosquito bite.
Why Are Boxelder bugs in My Home?
Boxelder bugs seek warmth in the walls and siding of homes, offices, and other buildings during the fall and winter. They covet sunshine and can often be found in the sills of sun-facing windows. Homes with lots of southern or western exposure and a high amount of sunlight may attract more boxelder bugs.
They emerge in the spring to feed and lay eggs. During the winter season, the warmth of your home heating system may cause boxelder bugs to emerge prematurely and seek sustenance in your house.
How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs
The first line of defense is to remove the boxelder trees on your property. If you can’t or don’t want to remove the tree, you’ll have to take other measures to prevent boxelder bugs from invading your home.
Fortify your home against boxelder infestation with these measures:
- Repair holes in screens.
- Patch cracks and crevices.
- Seal around vents and utility lines.
- Install door sweeps to all exterior entrances.
Fall is when boxelder bugs begin moving inside and a good time to perform home prevention projects.
If boxelder bugs are already in your home, do not kill them. Instead, use a vacuum to remove them without releasing their toxin. Empty the vacuum bag outside when you’re done. If you think you have a boxelder infestation, call a licensed pest control operator to evaluate and assess the problem.
Boxelder Bug Control for Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Lansing
The experts at Griffin Pest Solutions can assist in boxelder bug control and removal from your home or business. Contact us today to schedule a certified pest technician who knows what those red bugs in Michigan are and how to get rid of them.