Boxelder bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees. This species is native to the western states, but can be found from eastern Canada throughout the eastern United States, and west to eastern Nevada, wherever boxelder trees are found. Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest as they they enter structures, including homes, sheds and garages to over winter.
What Do Boxelder Bugs Look Like?
Boxelder bugs are black with reddish or orange markings on their back. Adult boxelder bugs have a body shape that is a somewhat-flattened and elongated oval and is about half an inch long. They have six legs and two antennae that are typically half of their body length. Nymphs look similar to adults but lack wings and are bright red in color.
Signs of an Infestation
Boxelder bugs generally become a problem when they invade homes, sheds and garages in the fall and when they emerge in the spring. Like many overwintering pests, homeowners may see evidence of these bugs as the winter ends and they leave their overwintering site to go back outdoors.
Boxelder Bugs Prevention
How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs…
In order to prevent boxelder bugs from invading homes, repair holes in window and door screens, seal cracks and crevices with a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk and install door sweeps to all exterior entrances.
When getting rid of boxelder bugs that have already entered a home or building, no attempt should be made to kill them in wall voids because dead insect bodies can attract dermestid beetles (larder beetles, carpet beetles, etc). Experts recommend waiting until summer when all live overwintering adults are out of the wall voids. To provide temporary relief during this time, consider using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the boxelder bugs. The bag should be removed to prevent the bugs from escaping. Then, seal up any entryways into the living space – window pulleys, window and door frames, baseboards, etc. – to prevent a future infestation. For electrical outlets, switch boxes, heating ducts and return air vents, remove the cover plate, seal and replace. For light fixtures and ceiling fans, remove the fixture to its base plate, seal and replace.
If a boxelder bug infestation is suspected, a licensed pest control professional from Presidio Pest Management should be contacted to evaluate and assess the problem.