Boxelder Bug - School IPM - USU Extension

    Boxelder Bug

    Boisea trivittata

    Boxelder Bug

    Adult boxelder bug (Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org)

    Boxelder Bug

    Boxelder bug infestation (Jim Baker, North Carolina State University, Bugwood.org)

    Boxelder Bugs

    Left: Boxelder bug eggs (William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org) Right: Boxelder bug adults and nymphs (Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

    Identification

    • black bugs with red markings on body
    • immature forms are smaller but easily distinguished from adults by their lack of wings and red abdomens
    • look similar to red fire bugs and other related groups

    Nesting Habits

    • found in and around buildings in the spring and fall
    • female boxelder trees or other seed-producing maples
    • overwinter in cracks and crevices of buildings, especially in unshaded, sunny sides/areas of exterior walls or leaf litter

    Diet

    • prefer boxelder seeds, which are only found on female boxelder trees, but may feed on other maple seeds

    Significance

    • nuisance: congregate on exterior walls of buildings in spring and summer; can come indoors and annoy occupants
    • overwinter in cracks and crevices in buildings
    • may stain lightly colored materials and emit an unpleasant odor when smashed
    • not a health threat

    IPM Recommendations

    • Remove female boxelder trees in the area if possible.
    • Seal cracks that may allow boxelder bugs to enter buildings.
    • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove indoor populations.
    • Remove boxelder from tree planting lists.
    • Plant non-maple trees to eventually shade sides of buildings where box elder bugs like to congregate.
    • Vacuum often during spring and fall.

    For more information, see our Boxelder Bug fact sheet.