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Box Elder Bugs

Class: Insect
Other names: Garage bugs, stink bugs
Color: Dark brown or black with red lines behind head and on body and wings
Size: ½ inch long
Diet: Fluid of leaves of boxelder, maple and ash trees
Hazard: None to humans
Interesting Fact: Boxelder bugs like to sunbathe in groups when it gets colder, congregating on the south side of trees, buildings or rocks to capture the sun’s warmth.

Boxelder Bugs Can Leave an Unpleasant Odor

Boxelder bugs live primarily on the seed-bearing boxelder tree (the female tree) and sometimes on maple and ash trees. But if a boxelder bug makes its way inside your home, be careful not to squash it; you may find that you’ve unleased a real stink.

There are three stages in a boxelder bug’s life:

  • The female lays straw-yellow colored eggs which turn red over time
  • The nymphs that emerge are 1/16 inch long and bright red
  • Adults are ½ inch long and flattened on top. They are dark brown or black in color, and have red lines behind their heads and along their sides and wings.

 A winter pest

Boxelder bugs feed on the fluid of the leaves of their preferred trees but don’t usually cause much damage to them. They aren’t harmful to humans since they don’t sting or carry disease.

But boxelder bugs can be a nuisance in winter, since they look for warm places to live, such as inside your walls or your siding. Although they’re inactive during this time—they don’t feed or reproduce—the higher temperatures in your home may encourage them to come out and explore. Fortunately, the boxelder bugs will leave for the outdoors when spring comes.

If you don’t like the idea of boxelder bugs using your home as a winter hotel, you can try eliminating them by vacuuming them up. To prevent them from coming inside:

  • Remove wood piles, rocks, etc. from around your home
  • Seal around doors and windows
  • Screen off attic and dryer vents
  • Repair screens
  • Remove female boxelder trees

If the problem persists, give Brody Brothers a call at 443-379-8857. We can eliminate these unwanted winter guests from you home.

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