The Boxelder Bug (Boisea trivittata) is categorized as a “true” bug. According to an article written by Page Baluch and Adam Dolezal, of Arizona State University School of Life Sciences:
“The key difference between true bugs and other insects in their mouthparts. True bugs suck. That’s right, the true bugs have specialized mouth parts used to suck juices. Mostly they suck fluids from plants, but there are some true bugs, like bed bugs, that feed on animals.”1
The Boxelder Bug is a highly specialized insect that feeds almost exclusively on Maple-type (broadleaf) tree seeds. Although this pest feeds on trees, they are not known for causing extensive tree damage. This insect grows to about ½” in length. Its body is dark brown to black, with red wing veins. The nymphs are bright red in color.
In cooler weather (Fall and Winter), the Boxelder Bug enters homes to hibernate in walls and darkened attics. While this pest is not known to cause extensive damage in homes (although they do leave behind a sticky residue), and while it is not considered an agricultural pest, removal of the Boxelder Bug can help to reduce the population of other pests that feed upon it.
Homeowners are most likely to see the Boxelder Bug during daylight hours. This is when the bug comes out of hiding to sun itself. The Boxelder Bug will leave their interior winter hiding places when they come out of hibernation, and return to the trees as the weather gets warmer.
Characteristics important to control: In addition to several, easy preventative measures, the Boxelder Bug can be controlled through chemical and non-chemical treatments, both inside and outside the home.
If you see Boxelder bugs in your trees or inside your home, give Evergreen Pest Management a call. Ed Belding will bring his 20 years of experience and professionalism to your home and work with you to provide you and your family with the safest and most effective pest management.
1. True Bugs