Boxelder Bug

    Boxelder Bug

    Boisea spp.

    boxelder bug

    Adult boxelder bug (Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org)

    boxelder bugs

    Boxelder bug adults and nymphs (Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

    boxelder bug eggs

    Boxelder bug eggs (William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org)

    Pest Description

    • adults: 1/2 inch; black body and wings with three red lines on back
    • nymphs: smaller and are bright red with black legs and wing pads
    • eggs: cylindrical; orange to red and laid in clusters

    Host Plants, Diet & Damage

    • seeds of maple trees; primarily boxelder tree seeds
    • feed on sap from boxelder seeds
    • occasionally cannibalistic
    • occasionally cause damage to non-host fruit, such as apples
    • no damage done to trees
    • nuisance: congregate around buildings; can come indoors and annoy occupants
    • overwinter in cracks, crevices, leaf litter and in buildings

    Biology, Life Cycle & Damaging Life Stage

    • overwinter as adults in and around homes
    • become active in March with warming temperatures
    • adults lay eggs on and near boxelder trees around budbreak
    • two generations per year; overlapping life stages present
    • nymphs and adults are the damaging stages

    IPM Recommendations

    • No damage to trees; nuisance pest only.
    • Remove unwanted/volunteer female boxelder trees (i.e., with seeds) in the area if possible.
    • Seal cracks that may allow bugs to enter buildings.
    • Vacuum to remove indoor and outdoor populations.

    For more information, see our Boxelder Bug fact sheet.