Boxelders- Are they trees or bugs, or both?

May 15, 2019

We’re glad you asked! They are kind of both!

What is a boxelder bug and what do they look like?

Boxelder bugs are nuisance pests found predominately on boxelder trees and often times maple trees. These bugs are about 1/4 inch long with black and orange markings specifically three stripes right behind their heads. The wings overlap to form an X.

Boxelders are in the same family as stinkbugs and cicadas. They have powerful sucking mouths and release a stinky order when you crush them.

What is a boxelder tree?

According to, It’s an easy-to-grow, very adaptable maple. The wood of boxelder maple trees is soft and has no commercial value. Boxelder trees usually grow on riverbanks or near water in the wild. These trees help to shelter wildlife and stabilize stream banks. However, in our own backyards, they are considered a type of weed.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Boxelder Tree Information

box elder tree

Why are boxelder bugs a problem?

Boxelder bugs are active in the spring and love the warm weather. In many cases, these bugs have been dormant inside your home and are itching to get out and lay their eggs. While in your home, they are basically harmless, but their fecal matter can stain walls and fabrics. They are usually not interested in indoor plants.

Once outside, they eat leaves and flowers of female boxelder trees, as well as other trees such as ash and maple. It is not a lot of damage but if the swarms get large enough, they can make the trees someone unsightly. The same can happen to fruit bearing trees.

The problems return in the fall as the boxelder bugs look for warmth and you’ll likely find them inside your house.

Boxelders do not sting or bite and are no threat of carrying disease.

How do I get rid of boxelder bugs?

Don’t let them in! The best bug control is prevention, which means keeping the pests out of your home.

Protect your home or business with AccuShield. The experts at Accurate Pest Control will evaluate the structure and locate areas where pests can gain entry. A complete evaluation is performed and reviewed with the homeowner or business owner and a course of action is determined.

You can add boxelder control to your annual agreement. Ask us how. Interested in saving money? Give us a Google Review and save 10%!

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