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Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

 In Bug, Pest Prevention

Boxelder bugs are common in Portland OR and can be a nuisance. Call Antworks to learn more about these bugs!Boxelder bugs may appear scary but they are typically not harmful to humans. True to their name, these bugs are found on or around boxelder trees and tend to enter homes for shelter during the winter months. They are black, beetle-looking insects with red-orange markings on their back, making them easy to identify especially if their preferred tree is nearby. Like many other pests, boxelder bugs will often be seen either when they enter a home to overwinter, or when they emerge as spring rolls around.

The Boxelder Bug Life Cycle

Understanding the habits of boxelder bugs may help prepare homeowners to know when exactly they may see these insects.

  • Boxelder bugs first emerge in late March or early April when the buds on a boxelder tree start to open. The adults will spend the warmer months in the host tree, feeding on fallen seeds before moving to seed-bearing boxelder trees or maple trees to eat new leaves.
  • Females will lay eggs on stones, grass, shrubs, or in the crevices of boxelder trees. Once hatched, the nymphs will also feed on fallen seeds and new leaves.
  • As the season shifts into fall, boxelder bugs will gather in the dozens to seek out sunny, warm spots on greenery or houses before migrating to nearby properties to overwinter. They will hide in wall crevices until reemerging in the spring once more.

Damage Caused by Boxelder Bugs

As mentioned previously, boxelder bugs are not particularly threatening to humans. They also rarely cause damage when they’re inside homes. That said, their feces are known to stain any light-colored material, such as curtains, clothing, or rugs in your home. Like several other pests, they will emit a strong unpleasant odor if squished or crushed. In the rare case when a boxelder bug does bite, humans may experience slight irritation and redness, but they do not carry or transmit diseases.

Boxelder Bug Infestation Control

Even though boxelder bugs are relatively harmless, that doesn’t mean they’re not a nuisance to homeowners. If you see just one in your home, there are likely a lot more nearby due to the fact that they gather in large numbers. Preventing them from getting inside your home doesn’t always work and you may be hesitant to remove your beautiful boxelder tree, which is why it’s best to call a professional. Antworks has the experience needed to handle these boxelder bugs in the Pacific Northwest and can be trusted to get rid of any boxelder bugs in your home. Give us a call today to learn more!


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