Boxelder Bug

Boisea trivittata

Boxelder Bug

Adult boxelder bug (Joseph Berger,

Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bug infestation (Jim Baker, North Carolina State University,

Boxelder Bugs

Left: Boxelder bug eggs (William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Right: Boxelder bug adults and nymphs (Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,


  • black bugs with red markings on body
  • immature forms are smaller but easily distinguished from adults by their lack of wings and red abdomens
  • look similar to red fire bugs and other related groups

Nesting Habits

  • found in and around buildings in the spring and fall
  • female boxelder trees or other seed-producing maples
  • overwinter in cracks and crevices of buildings, especially in unshaded, sunny sides/areas of exterior walls or leaf litter


  • prefer boxelder seeds, which are only found on female boxelder trees, but may feed on other maple seeds


  • nuisance: congregate on exterior walls of buildings in spring and summer; can come indoors and annoy occupants
  • overwinter in cracks and crevices in buildings
  • may stain lightly colored materials and emit an unpleasant odor when smashed
  • not a health threat

IPM Recommendations

  • Remove female boxelder trees in the area if possible.
  • Seal cracks that may allow boxelder bugs to enter buildings.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove indoor populations.
  • Remove boxelder from tree planting lists.
  • Plant non-maple trees to eventually shade sides of buildings where box elder bugs like to congregate.
  • Vacuum often during spring and fall.

For more information, see our Boxelder Bug fact sheet.