Box Elder Bug

Box elder bugs are small, black insects with distinctive red or orange markings on their thorax and sides. Their bodies are flat and shaped like an elongated oval, and adults are capable of using their wings to fly as far as two miles at a time. Box elders are also classified as “true bugs”, which means that they have a long mouthpart – called a proboscis – that they use to suck fluids from plant tissue. Most box elder bugs measure between 11 and 14 mm long, or about half an inch.


Pest Description

Box Elder Bug Habits

Box elder bugs are very common pests here in the Pacific Northwest. These insects are most famous for living and feeding on boxelder trees, though they also commonly infest other members of the maple tree family. Though box elders primarily eat the leaves and seeds of whatever tree they are infesting, these insects rarely cause serious or fatal plant damage.

Since box elders are attracted to warm and sunny areas, they are most active in the spring and summer. However, as temperatures drop in the fall, they may seek shelter indoors and become a bigger problem for homeowners later in the year. Outdoors, box elders are often found congregating in large numbers on trees, warm rocks, and the sunny sides of buildings. If these insects manage to make it indoors, they often hide in cracks and crevices or remain on sunny windowsills.

Preventing Box Elder Bugs

Though box elder bugs are not known to be aggressive, they can easily become a nuisance for home and property owners. Since colonies can grow to include thousands of individual members, an infestation can be unsightly and difficult to eradicate. Additionally, box elders are notorious for leaving behind noticeable feces and releasing a foul odor when squished, which can make infestations even more unpleasant to deal with.

To prevent box elder bugs from infesting your property, avoid planting boxelder, elm, ash, or maple trees. You can also seal off any cracks or gaps around your home’s foundation or near doors and windows to prevent these pests from sneaking indoors.

Eliminating Box Elder Bugs

A box elder bug infestation can be bothersome, especially with how large colonies can get. Ignoring an outbreak for too long could result in thousands of individual insects swarming on multiple trees throughout your property or congregating on the sides of your building.

If you are struggling with box elder bugs on your property, call a certified pest control company to deal with the infestation quickly and efficiently. Established colonies can be very difficult to get rid of on your own, but a trained pest management professional can help resolve the infestation by a personalized treatment plan that will address the root cause of the problem.