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Boxelder Bug (Boisea trivittata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Boxelder Bug.

 Updated: 11/30/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Boxelder Bugs can form massive, intimidating mobs near dwellings and on trees, but they are harmless to humans and not a significant threat to plant life.



Boxelder Bugs are black plant bugs. They have thin orange or red-orange borders on their elytra (wing coverings). A short orange line runs down the middle of the thorax. Large red eyes bulge out the sides of its head and two tiny red spots on top of the head sit near them. Nymphs (juveniles) look different from adults. They have red bodies with an orange or yellow spot in the center of it. Their undeveloped wing coverings are short and black. They commiserate with older Boxelder Bugs, commonly form large congregations on the sides of homes, or on trees, but especially near Boxelder bushes, from which they are named. They prefer the warm and sunny sides of buildings. Females will overwinter inside walls and lay eggs on leaves in the spring.

Boxelder Bugs are not harmful to humans, but they will secrete a staining dye if crushed. If they are found indoors, it is best to remove them with a paper towel, or vacuum cleaner with its hose attachment, to avoid creating a mess. They do not emit any odors. Typically, Boxelder Bug can be found in parks, gardens, meadows, fields and forests. Adults, their larvae, and their growing nymphs drink nectar and sap from flowers, trees and other plants, but rarely with enough vigor to destroy them. The feeding may slightly deform fruits and their large numbers may startle observers, but they are not dangerous.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Rhopalidae
          Genus: Boisea
            Species: trivittata
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Boisea trivittata
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 14mm (0.43in to 0.55in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black; gray; orange
Descriptors: clusters, infestation
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.