What are boxelder bugs, and what do they look like?
Boxelder bugs don’t have the same name recognition as yellow jackets, sugar ants, and other nuisance insects, but they’re still an incredibly common pest in the Pacific Northwest.
If you’re not sure if the infestation you’re seeing is the boxelder, one of the easiest ways to identify them is by their distinct appearance.
Their bodies at full maturity are typically very dark brown to black in color, but certain parts of their bodies possess a dramatically different shade. The veins of their wings, the perimeter of their backs, the underside of their abdomen, the rings that highlight the sections of their antennae, and even their bulbous eyes are a fiery orange-red.
The boxelder is entirely this orange-red color during immaturity, and its coloring progresses toward the brownish-black hues as it reaches its adult state. On average, the boxelder bug is about a half-inch in length.
Why are they called boxelder bugs?
The boxelder bug gets its unusual name from its favorite food source, the seeds of the boxelder maple tree. Though this food source is their namesake, they will also happily feed on the seeds of other maple, ash, and even certain fruit trees. Boxelder bugs are also known to extract nutrition from the leaves of trees as well.
The boxelder bug isn’t classified as an agricultural pest, as they don’t cause damage to plants on the same scale as armyworms, stink bugs, and many others. However, boxelders can cause some damage to plants and fruit, especially when they begin their overwintering process. Premature fruit dropping, scarring, and dimpling are just some of the ways that boxelder bugs can hurt your trees and their fruit.
Why are boxelder bugs starting to congregate on my home?
Boxelder bugs, in a habit that they share with many other insects, are seeking sunlight and warmth, especially in those early spring and late-summer/early-fall seasons.
If there is a box elder maple tree, or another type of tree that can act as a food source nearby your home, it is not uncommon to see many boxelder bugs on sunny days as they will start to gather on the south- and west-facing sides (the ones that get the most direct sunlight). Keep in mind that they can fly up to two miles from their nest, which means that there may be a food source nearby that you are not even aware of.
Can boxelder bugs get inside my home?
If a boxelder bug is able to find some sort of entry point — like a crack in your siding, for instance — it is common for them to overwinter in the wall voids as it provides safety and warmth.
As the weather starts to get warmer and the boxelder bugs are starting to come out seeking sunlight, occasionally a few may try to exit in the wrong direction and find themselves inside your home. It’s extremely unlikely that they’ll start nesting inside your home, but it’s not unheard of, especially if you have maple or ash trees on your property.
What do I do if I see boxelder bugs at my home?
The most critical and effective way to rid your home of pests like boxelder bugs is to contact professional pest control experts for assistance.
Flying insects, in particular, can be extremely difficult to treat without professional help. Aspen Pest Control is a company that specializes in pests like boxelder bugs, and our team of technicians has the training, equipment, and experience to help you rid your home of pests and fill you with the peace of mind you deserve.
Because of our extensive experience with Boxelder bugs, our in-house experts can quickly assess the situation you are having at your home. We can then present you with recommendations for treatment, hassle-free!
Should you choose to move forward with treatment, we’ll apply commercial-grade (yet still earth, pet, and child friendly) products to make the desired impact on your infestation.
Giving you the service you want at the value you deserve lies at the heart of the way we do business, so if it’s time to rid your home of boxelder bugs, then it’s time to contact Aspen. Do it today!