Boxelder bugs, also known as box bug, maple bug or, inaccurately, box beetle. Boxelder bugs are nuisance pests. Boxelder bugs are not known to bite nor sting but have been known to have a defensive bite. Their piercing-sucking mouthparts can puncture skin, causing a slight irritation and producing a red spot similar to a mosquito bite. Young boxelder bugs (also known as nymphs) are about 1/16th-inch long and are bright red when they first hatch. Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black in coloration with orange or red markings, including three stripes on the area right behind the head. Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’. These bugs have about a 1-year lifespan on average.
They have no purpose and are not pollinators. Boxelders are most active in April to early May; they emerge from hibernation about the time boxelder trees begin opening. Boxelder bugs feed almost entirely on the developing seeds of boxelder, maple and ash trees.
Certain times of the year boxelder bugs cluster together in large groups on warm surfaces near their host tree. This is especially a problem in the fall when they are seeking a warm place. Large numbers are often seen congregating on houses seeking an entry point. Once they have gained access, they remain inactive behind inside of walls while the weather is cool.
In conclusion, Boxelders can look scary, but they are actually harmless to us, our homes and plants. Here are some helpful tips to rid them from your home or yard!