Plant City Pest Control: Some Useful Insights on Boxelder Bugs

Plant City Pest Control: Some Useful Insights on Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are a nuisance both outdoor and indoor. You need to call Plant City Pest Control for controlling their invasion.

What are Boxelder bugs?

The scientific name of Boxelder bugs is Boisea trivittata. As these bugs are mostly found in and around Maple and seed-bearing Boxelder trees, that has given rise to this name. While these bugs mostly native to western American states, they are also found in the eastern part of the country. These bugs are also known as maple bugs. They are also very much sensitive to cold and hide in shelters to stay warm and come out of their hideouts in spring. Services of Plant City Pest Control become essential when they are found in abundance.

Appearance & Size

Boxelder bugs have a black color with red to orange marks on the backs. The adult bugs have somewhat a flattened and elongated oval shape. The head of these bugs is narrower than the pronotum. They have six legs, a pair of wings, and two antennae. Their antennae are almost half of the length of their body.  The wings overlap each other forming an ‘X’ pattern. Adult Boxelder bugs are about half inches long. Nymphs come in bright red color. Although they look like adults, they do not have wings. Boxelder bugs are true bugs belonging to the family of stinks bugs. Bad odor is released when these are crushed.

Habitat & diet

Boxelder bugs club together in autumn on the southern side of buildings, rocks, and trees to have more warmth from sun rays. When migrating into a building, these bugs tend to hide in the small cracks and crevices to protect them from the cold. They go back to the trees when it is warm in late March or early April. These feed on Boxelder tree saps and of other maple varieties. The bugs use their piercing mouthparts to suck saps from flowers, leaves, and seeds.

Life Cycle

Boxelder bugs are also abundant in Florida. Their lifecycle is divided into three phases: eggs, nymphs, and adults.

  • Eggs: The females lay eggs during the springtime. The eggs are laid in clusters in grass, shrubs, and trees, especially on the leaves and in crevices of the bark of Boxelder trees. The eggs have an oval shape and their colors vary from straw-yellow to red-brown thus camouflaging the eggs from predator attacks. The eggs hatch in 11 to 19 days.
  • Nymphs: The nymphs take from 10 to 14 days to emerge after the eggs are laid. They look like adults without wings. The nymphs feed on tree juices extracting that with their sucking mouthpart. The nymphs pass through a series of molts to grow into adults ready for reproduction. Their color changes during this period and black markings also develop. The nymphs achieve full growth in August and September.
  • Adults: The nymphs develop into fully grown adults in summer and start mating producing the second generation before fall turns up. The adults migrate in large groups on the tree trunks, fences, and sides of the houses. These feed on plants and seeds and go for overwintering in the colder months. They mostly remain inactive during winter, although movements are noticed on sunny days. Boxelder bugs live for only a few days to a week.

Can Boxelder bugs fly?

Boxelder bugs are known to be strong fliers. Sometimes they fly up to even two miles in search of food sources and overwintering places.

Infestation and threat

Boxelder bugs can cause a significant problem when they invade homes in large numbers during the fall. They also pose serious problems when they emerge from overwintering in the spring and return outdoors. Plant City Pest Control professionals should be consulted for assessing the problem if there are signs of infestation. These are not known to sting or bite and are primarily nuisance bugs. However, fecal excretion can cause unhealthy stains on curtains, drapes, and other internal furnishings.

Getting rid of Boxelder bugs

Boxelder bugs cause real problems for some unfortunate homeowners when they invade the home every year. While there is no real concern, and as these do not breed indoors, they become an ordeal throughout the winter season. Repairing window holes, doors, and caulking all cracks and crevices with silicone-latex caulking material, and installing door sweeps can prevent them from invading homes. No attempts to kill the Boxelder bugs in the cracks and crevices of the wall should be made. Such an approach will result in dead bugs attracting other beetles and worsen the situation. Better to use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of them. The bag should be removed immediately so that the bugs cannot escape and renter the house. Sealing of all cracks and all other possible entryways must be done immediately after the process for a sustaining result. Cover-plate of all electrical outlets, heating ducts and return air vents are also to be removed, sealed, and replaced.

How to keep them off the home?

Boxelder trees and Maple trees are the favorite hosting places of the Boxelder bugs. In case these trees are there around your home or in the neighborhood, you are likely to suffer from Boxelder bugs infestation. The best and permanent way to keep the Boxelder bugs off the home is to remove those trees. But that may not be practical and possible. In such cases, you may try spraying a residual insecticide on the exterior walls along with sealing the entry points. It gives good results when these bugs start emerging in the spring and sheltering in the fall. The residual insecticide prevents the Boxelder bugs from landing. Plenty of bug repellant products are available in the market. You can get one that is specifically labeled for Boxelder bugs and spray following all safety precautions.

Parting words

Although Boxelder bugs mostly go unnoticed for most parts of the year. They could be a nuisance when there is an infestation. It is better to call All American Pest Control and avail of Plant City Pest Control services for controlling them.