Boxelder Bugs

When the weather gets cool you start to see something you had not noticed before, clusters of bugs congregating around sunny spots of trees and your home. These bugs look really neat with their solid black base and red outlined trim, but what are they? They are boxelder bugs.

So what do you need to know about boxelder bugs?

What is a Boxelder Bug?

Boxelder Bugs - Insects of FallBoxelder Bugs are flat, dark brown pests that are present all throughout the year, but are mainly noticed during the fall and winter seasons. There is nothing to fret, though, because they are completely harmless.

You can easily distinguish due to their very prominent features. The Boxelder bug is a small, rather flat insect that can reach sizes up to about 1/2 inch long and about 1/3 inch wide. The easiest way to tell this bug apart from others is not its size, but rather it’s markings. The Boxelder bug is all black, apart from the red markings down its sides, ending with a red V-like shape towards the bottom of its back. Its abdomen is also a bright red color under its wings. So all in all, this insect is pretty easy to spot.

Many of you will be seeing this insect as the weather begins to change. This is due to the insect moving from its normal outside habitat to one that is indoors and sunny, typically so it can hibernate for the winter.

Does the Boxelder Bug do Any Damage?

Most of the concern surrounding this insect has to do with the sheer number of them that there could be at a time. The Boxelder bug tends to travel in a pack. Typically they live in the bark of the Boxelder tree, but as the weather begins to cool, the adult Boxelder bugs will migrate inside, searching for crevices and cracks in infrastructure, such as window casings, doors, and in walls. During the warmer days of winter, they will tend to stay on lighter painted surfaces outside and they tend to be seen on the southern and western sides of the household to soak up what little sun they can.

As far as what the Boxelder bug eats, it primarily hunts for sap from the leaves of the Boxelder tree. They are also known to eat on other vegetation, but there is nothing to fret about, because they seldom appear in any packs large enough to cause any real damage unless there is a seed producing Boxelder tree in the area.

How do I get rid of the Boxelder Bug?

Even though these bugs may not cause any harm to the vegetation in your area, you may still want to get rid of these pests. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent the Boxelder bug from coming into your home.

  • They typically feed on the female boxelder trees, so the removal of said tree is sure to reduce the number that are around your house.
  • Check around your house for any cracks in the windows or doors that could allow them easy entry to your home. Patching these holes up are sure to keep these insects away.
  • If you own a wet/dry vacuum, using a soapy water mixture is a sure way to get rid of the Boxelder bug because the insect will drown quickly in the soapy water you are using.
  • Checking the Boxelder trees during the spring and summer seasons is a sure way to find these insects. Spraying any areas where they are seen are sure to destroy these bugs before the winter. It is also helpful to spray insecticides on sidewalks, walls, and fences. Pretty much spray anywhere you think they could possibly be.
  • If the insects decide to make their way indoors, its pretty easy to take care of them. Just use a vacuum cleaner to suck them right up. Then dispose of appropriately.
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