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Boxelder Bug


Actual Size: ½”

Characteristics: Flat and oval; black with reddish-orange markings on the back.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Drawn to areas in full sun, often on the sides of buildings.


  • When crushed, they emit an offensive odor.
  • Wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’.
  • Congregate in the fall on the south side of trees, homes, and structures.

Boxelder Bugs in Salina

Boxelder bugs are named for their prime host, the boxelder tree, which is cultivated throughout the United States. Boxelder bugs usually feed on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods of the box elder tree, although they occasionally occur on maple and ash trees. Classified as a “true bug,” boxelders become nuisances in the fall as they congregate in search of an overwintering site.

Boxelder Bug Habitat

In the fall, adult boxelder bugs assemble on the south sides of trees, rocks, and buildings to warm themselves in the sun. When masses of bugs accumulate, they fly to nearby buildings or other sites where they hibernate for winter. They will enter homes and buildings and hibernate within the walls of the structure. Boxelder bugs do not reproduce inside homes but enter through windows, doors, ceiling lights, soffit and dryer vents, outdoor faucets, and the siding of a home. Like many other pests, boxelder bugs will often be seen either when they enter a home to overwinter, or when they reemerge as the temperatures warm back up.

Boxelder Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Boxelder bugs generally don’t bite, though there have been rare reports of defensive biting. They also are not known to cause damage to homes, though their feces can stain surfaces. During the cold season, individuals or small parties of boxelder bugs enter homes and fly into windows, bathtubs, and sinks, congregating on the floor adjacent to their overwintering harborage.  When crushed, they give off an unpleasant odor. Although fairly harmless, boxelder bugs are certainly annoying. If you have a boxelder bug infestation, contact your local pest control professional for assistance.

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