Boxelder Bug Identification

What are boxelder bugs?

Boxelder bugs are insects that spend most of their time outside living on box elder trees, along with other types of seed-bearing trees. They have piercing, sucking mouthparts used to feed on the liquids from leaves, stems, and flowers of the tree they've infested.

These insects are relatively easy for most of us to identify, mainly due to their striking color pattern. Adults have an elongated, oval-shaped body that is black, and the wings and thorax are outlined in an orange-red color. Newly laid eggs are a straw yellow color, but they turn red as the nymphs inside develop. After hatching the young boxelder bugs are bright red.

close up of a boxelder bug

Are boxelder bugs dangerous?

The threat of boxelder bugs on our property is not dangerous to us, but is to our yard’s plant life. During the feeding process, boxelder bugs cause unsightly damage and distortion to leaves and fruits. However, only significant damage is done by boxelder bugs when there are substantial populations present.

Another problem with having boxelder bugs living in your yard is that when the cool weather hits, these insects look for a safe, warm area to shelter, often choosing man-made structures. The warm, sunny sides of our homes attract them. Traveling up and along our the exterior walls, they move inside through cracks and any other opening they discover.

Having boxelder bugs or any other pest inside our home is never ideal. As they move across our house, they can stain floors, walls, curtains, and upholstery with their excrement. When crushed, boxelder bugs emit a foul odor that is unpleasant to deal with.

Why do I have a boxelder bug problem?

If you have trees that boxelder bugs like to feed on, the chances of experiencing problems with these pests is high. Boxelder bugs live and feed on ash trees, maple trees, apple trees, plum trees, and box elder trees.

If boxelder bugs live on your property or a nearby property, when the weather cools, there is a good chance they will find a way into your home or garage to overwinter. Once inside, these pests are difficult to get rid of until spring when they head back outside.

Where will I find boxelder bugs?

After boxelder bugs find a way into our homes, they will move throughout it over walls, along ceilings, and along the edges of baseboards, until they find an opening they can exploit. The final location boxelder bugs will overwinter is usually a dark, warm spot like a wall void, attic, or crawlspace. Sometimes on very warm sunny days, they emerge from their hiding spots and gather around windows. Dealing with these pests all winter is frustrating for any Illinois homeowner!

How do I get rid of boxelder bugs?

Keep boxelder bugs out of your Chicago area home with the help of Aerex Pest Control. With over 70 years of experience, our family-owned and operated business is committed to helping people protect their properties from pests. You can count on our professionals to provide the inspection and biannual treatments needed to stop boxelder bugs from gaining entrance to your home or commercial property.

For more information about our pest control options, call Aerex Pest Control, and speak with one of our helpful professionals!

How can I prevent boxelder bugs in the future?

We have put together a list of practical prevention tips to help you keep boxelder bugs out of your home.

  • Cut back tree branches, especially box elder trees branches, from your home’s exterior.
  • Plant new ash or maple trees on your property as far away from your house as possible. If possible, avoid planting boxelder trees.
  • Seal any openings, no matter how small, in the foundation, exterior walls, and roofline of your home that these insects could use as an entry point.
  • Fill in the spaces around wires, pipes, and utilities entering your home using steel wool or another similar material.
  • Put weatherstripping around all exterior windows and doors and repair loose screens.
  • Put in place any prevention measures that will deter boxelder bugs during the summer, before these bugs are looking for indoor shelter!

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