Boxelder Bug; All You Need To Know About Boxelder Bug

Boxelder Bug, the name sounds kinda funny, right? well, it also was for me as I was about writing this article. This topic boxelder bug really aroused my curiosity about what these creatures were, what they looked like and many other questions that I know are also running through your minds as you saw the topic.

Although many of you might have heard about it and surfed through many articles to get a clearer understanding of this species of pests, luckily for you it’s your lucky moment as we’ll take you through the land of the boxelder bug pest.

Just fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

Boxelder Facts

Below is a list of questions you’ve been pondering about concerning the boxelder bug:

  • What is a boxelder bug?
  • Where do boxelder bugs live?
  • Boxelder tree
  • What do boxelder bugs eat (diet)?
  • Boxelder bug bite
  • Mating in boxelder bug
  • Life-cycle of a boxelder bug
  • Boxelder bug eggs
  • Boxelder bug control (trap, spray)

What is a Boxelder Bug?

Of course, the first question that’ll come into your mind is what are boxelder bugs, you can’t just write on a topic without knowing what it’s about, as this is the startup point of the entire topic.

A boxelder bug gets its name from the boxelder tree, probably you may have heard of this tree. Crazy but true, these bugs got their name from the boxelder tree as they are usually seen gathering around this tree especially during the summertime.

This is a black bug with reddish and orange markings on its back, it has 6 legs, elongated in shape with a head narrower than its pronotum ( a plate-like structure that covers the thorax) and has two antennae about half its body size.

So now you know what this pest looks like you can read on to know more about it.



Where do Boxelder Bugs Live?

Of course, everyone’s answer would be the boxelder tree, if that’s your answer then you are absolutely correct. You expected me to say wrong right, but yeah, you’re very correct.

In the world we find ourselves, humans seem to rule over every other creature. You don’t see a horse riding a car, or an ant going to the bank to deposit or withdraw money, hahaha, it would seem awkward, but yes humans are seen doing all these things every day.

You are seen doing these things, yes you. Human beings live in houses but most animals don’t but are always going from place to place, wherever they feel sleepy they sleep.

Just like humans, these pests also have a place where it stays and is seen always, and that is the boxelder tree. Female boxelder bugs live in the boxelder tree laying eggs while the males come there to feed on the leaves and seeds of the tree especially during the summertime.

As the winter fall approaches, they are seen to migrate from the trees to places nearby. These places could include your homes, and unluckily for you, you live close to these trees you might be expecting to have a long winter visitor, the boxelder bugs. It sounds like fun but it isn’t, as these pests are seen to fly through cracks and crevices in the walls of your homes.


Picture of Boxelder Bug


Boxelder Bug
Boxelder Bug

Boxelder Tree

Now we are well aware of the fact that the boxelder tree or maple as it is sometimes called is a tree where boxelder bugs are always seen to gather. The boxelder tree is a fast-growing tree with a height of about 15-20 m. Its feathered leaves are green in color and serve as a food source to the boxelder bug.

Its flowers are divided into male and female, the male flowers are seen to cluster together while the female flowers are together but with short branches. Its fruits are the falcate and the winged nutlets. It is able to withstand flood and resist frost.

It is also valuable for bees, butterflies and of course the boxelder bug. It can be located in the central and eastern parts of North America.

Boxelder Tree
Boxelder Tree

What do Boxelder Bugs eat?

Boxelder Bug Diet

You’ll love to know that these bugs do not feed on human blood as do other pests, but feed solely on plants and seed, of course, its from the boxelder tree. It would be good you know that there are other trees in the maple family apart from the boxelder tree, so the boxelder bug feed on them. How do they feed? of course, you’ll want to know, and its very simple, they feed by extracting the juices out of plants and seeds of the boxelder tree. But the most amazing fact is they do not incur great damage to the tree no matter how much they are, cool right? yes, it is.

Boxelder Diet
Boxelder Diet


Boxelder Bug Bite

No! No! No! if you think these creatures bite or sting then you’ve got it all wrong. As was stated earlier boxelder bugs feed on plants and seeds, not human blood or animal blood.

Although when in your home they may be seen swarming through cracks or crevices your walls, they still do not cause any form of damage to plants or even the home as well.

You have seen a bite mark and you think its a boxelder bug? well, check again you might have other visitors lurking around your home.

Boxelder Bug Bite
Not Boxelder bug bite

Mating In Boxelder Bug

All living creatures are known to undergo mating, be it human or non-human animals. A boxelder bug is no exception. The boxelder bugs are known to feed on trees plants and seeds that fall on the ground during spring. It doesn’t take weeks before mating begins. During the period of mid-July, they move to boxelder trees bearing seeds and lay eggs on the branches, leaves, and tree trunks.


In case you do not understand how mating in boxelder bug occurs, and you’ll want to find out more, here’s a brief video:


Life-cycle of a Boxelder Bug

A life-cycle is a continuous process i.e it happens over and over and over again, leading to the formation of one generation to another. The life span of a boxelder bug is very short and doesn’t require the use of insecticides.

After mating, the female boxelder bugs lay eggs in the leaves, branches, trunks, cracks, and crevices of the boxelder bug tree. The eggs hatch in a few days to produce nymphs. The Nymphs grow to become adults, increasing in size and body structure (this happens during summer).

As adults, they mate again and lay eggs which hatch and produce nymphs again (this begins the second generation nymphs) and this process continue to the third, fourth, fifth and many more generations.

Boxelder Bug Eggs

Adult Boxelder -> Lays Eggs -> Eggs develop into Nymphs -> Nymphs develop into Adults

And so the circle continues.

The eggs are laid by the adult female boxelder bug on the branches, trunks, leaves, cracks, and crevices of the boxelder tree during the winter period.

Boxelder Eggs
Boxelder Egg

Boxelder Bug Control (Spray, traps)

Spray Method

Pests have become a nuisance and could be very dangerous to our environment. Although the boxelder bug does not cause any form of danger to our homes or even plants, their swarming activities in the home could be very disturbing and hence control measures have to be adapted.

In using the spray method, the following steps should be ensured:

  • Get a spray bottle
  • Fill the spray bottle with water and liquid dishwashing soap.
  • Spray the bugs with the mixture to kill them.

Trap Method

Apart from the spray method, another suitable method can be applied which is the trap method.

Are you willing to use the trap method? well, here are easy steps to follow:

  • Get plywood or piece of cardboard.
  • Cover one side with petroleum jelly.
  • Lay the trap in the warmest spot in your house (these pests like warm places)
  • This will attract them.
  • When they crawl to it and touch it, they won’t be able to fly out.


It seems we’ve come to the end of the journey, surely you enjoyed the ride. Yes, you did. You can now unfasten your seatbelts and continue with your other business a happy man. We hope we’ve been of great help to you, as it was a nice experience we had there with you. If any comments or you’ll need further clarification you can always contact us and we’ll be glad to help.

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