Boxelder Bugs ~ Boisea trivittatus

imageThey’re everywhere!!

Boxelder bugs emerge from their overwintering sites during spring as the weather starts to warm up. Adults feed on low vegetation and seeds on the ground during spring and early summer. Shortly after feeding, mating begins. Then starting in mid‑July, they move to female boxelder trees where they lay eggs on the trunks, branches and leaves. They are rarely found on male boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs may also feed on maple or ash trees.

Both nymphs and adults remove plant fluid from newly developing leaves that may result in distortion of the foliage. Severely infested foliage may appear chlorotic (yellow). In addition to foliar feeding, boxelder bugs may also damage flowers, tender twigs and the seeds of boxelder. Populations of this pest have been reported to prefer development on the female trees; thus, monitor for this species on these trees. It is, however, because of the boxelder bugs propensity to enter homes that causes the most folks to dislike them. Although the insects cause no direct damage to the structure, contents or the occupants, their presence is a nuisance.


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

24 thoughts on “Boxelder Bugs ~ Boisea trivittatus

  1. When I was young I would always see these bugs. I remember the red markings. I had forgotten about them until I saw this post. I don’t see them where I live now.
    And here is what I remember about them: Mother always called them ‘democrats’. I grew up thinking that was their name. lol Oh, I grew up in Kansas.


  2. thanks for an interesting post about a species we don’t have here :o) they look a little like our fire bugs, we had a lot of them a couple of years ago. I tried to ask my neighbor if it is common that we have so much of this bugs, but I couldn’t, because I only knew the nickname they have outside of france: Frenchmen :o)


    • Ooops, yeah, that would be hard to another Frenchman about a pest bug that is called a ‘Frenchman’!!
      Like the comment from Ladysighs, her Mom called these bugs ‘democrats’. Depending on your voting practices, this may be an insult!! To me, it explains them exactly!!!


  3. now i know that the tree i saw boxelder bugs swarming on, when i was a kid, was probably an ash tree … since it was definitely not maple. knowledge is power …. thanks … ks


  4. I think I nearly gave my law school roommate a heart attack one day because of boxelder bugs. She saw one on the wall of our apartment, and thought some poisonous, horrible bug had invaded. I promptly picked it off the wall and threw it outside. I think she thought it was going to kill me. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen.


  5. Pingback: Bugs Want In! | Midwestern Plants

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