Boxelder Bug Habitat | 13 Facts about Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs are a type of agricultural pests, these are mostly found near or on a boxelder tree, and that’s the reason it is called by this name.

This species commonly found in the western nations but can also be found from west to eastern Nevada, eastern Canada and throughout the eastern United States. Boxelder bugs are pests which create nuisance after entering the home, sheds, garages and structures during winters.

Boxelder bugs also known as maple bugs. As the name it suggests that these bugs are mostly found on Boxelder trees and maple trees. 

Boxelder Bugs are black in color and they have orange veins on their body; they are flattened and oval-shaped insects.

They are approximately 12.5 mm long and have 4 legs and two wings to fly. They do not spread any diseases but they are surely acting as a nuisance for humans.


During autumns, the bugs gather around near the base of the tree or near the rocks or the buildings, wherever they can find some sunlight. After gathering in a large amount they move toward the nearby homes.

These pests try to hide near the holes or the edges of the wall to protect them in the winter. And at the arrival of the summer season the adult bugs leave to get back to their former home near the tree.

Boxelder bugs are not known to bite people but their sucking on the skin which can result in slight irritation and a red spot which can be similar to a mosquito bite. And when rubbed roughly, boxelder bugs may leave a red or orange color spots on the clothes or drapes or curtains, because of their feces.

13 Facts about Boxelder Bugs

1. What do Boxelder Bugs Look Like?

Boxelder bugs are black in color with red or orange marks on their whole body. Grown-up boxelder bugs’ shape is elongated oval and their structure is usually flattened. There size is nearly half an inch.

The boxelder bugs have 6 legs and two antennae which are normally half of their body size. Smaller bugs are similar to the adult one except the wings and they are red in color.

2. Do boxelder bugs bite?

Boxelder bugs are never said to bite humans. But they are known to suck on their skin through their rough mouth which may cause some redness and the bump on the skin which may possibly look like a mosquito bite.

3. How long do the boxelder bugs live?

The life span of boxelder bugs is almost 1 year; there are three stages of their development- egg, nymph, and adults.

Eggs of Boxelder bugs hatch after 10 to 15 days, after hatching the egg, the egg becomes nymph which means they look like adults but they are smaller in size, redder in color, and they doesn’t have wings, the life span of boxelder bug as a nymph is about 50 to 80 days.

Their body develops in 5 stages and with each stage they become larger in size.

Usually, boxelder bugs reproduce during summers and if Nymphs don’t develop by the coming winters, then they likely to die.

After becoming adults, they attain their sexual maturity and they become capable of reproducing.

4. What attracts boxelder bugs?

Warmth, shelter, and food attract boxelder bugs to your house; boxelder bugs come into residential houses in search of warm places, because they can’t survive winters.

They need a place to live in and they choose residencies because everybody uses heating radiators and heaters in their houses to make their surroundings warm.

By choosing residential houses they get close to food resources as well, the only source of their food is your leftover fruits and fresh plant leaves and every house does have some fruits and plants.  

5. What are boxelder bugs good for?

The only good thing about Boxelder bugs is their texture and color, a single boxelder bug looks very attractive.

Boxelder bugs are nothing but a nuisance for humans, but the good thing about boxelder bugs is that they don’t harm anyone and they are non-poisonous.

They attack boxelder trees and take nutrients from boxelder seeds, but they don’t cause any damage to those trees. 

6. When boxelder bugs are most active?

Boxelder bugs become most active in summer and early fall; they are mainly summer bugs, which means the season of their breeding and feeding is, summer.

They start their reproduction process in summer when the temperature is above 21 degrees Celsius.

It is said that Boxelder bugs get underground during the whole winter season but they do come out on warm winter days.

In fact, they might be roaming around in your house if you are constantly using heat radiators because if your whole house is filled with heat then they don’t need to hide in the wall cracks, which mean they might get active on warm winter days also.

7. Where do boxelder bugs live?

Boxelder bugs live on boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees. Trees are their main house in the summer season, but they get moved to residential houses and buildings in the winter season for survival and they hide under wall cracks and small spaces like attic and unused boxes for warmth and shelter.

You can say that they are migratory bugs but they get their food from boxelder trees; they are dependent on those three trees for reproduction and their nutrition.

Boxelder bugs mainly are from North America but some species of boxelder bugs also live in eastern Canada and the eastern United States, basically boxelder bugs found wherever boxelder trees are.

8. Where do boxelder bugs go at night?

Boxelder bugs go near the light resource, at night because they are attracted towards light and their main focus is to place themselves near heat and light.

In winters, these boxelder bugs start roaming around in the house for food and heat because nights are colder than days in winters. In summers, they spend their whole day and night in their very own boxelder tree.

Usually, boxelder bugs spend their whole winter in one place to conserve their energy and heat but some boxelder bugs start going around in your house to find heat sources when the temperature drops at night.

9. Where do boxelder bugs go in the winter? 

In winters, Boxelder bugs start heading towards the buildings and houses in search of a shelter.

You may have noticed many boxelder bugs inside your house during winters, and in summers, they magically disappear that’s because they move to packed buildings for their survival in winters and move back to their respective host trees in summers.

Boxelder bugs are temperature-sensitive bugs, they cannot survive in the winters.

When the temperature starts decreasing below 21 degrees Celsius, they start going towards the residential houses, in search of heat and warmth because houses have heat radiators and also have many places to hide.

10. What do boxelder bugs eat?

Adult Boxelder bugs take their nutrients from leaves; twigs, flowers and seeds of their tree and they also eat fruit plums.

Nymph sucks plant nectar and juice of seeds; they have a needle-like mouth for sucking plants nectar, plants nectar are the main source of their nutrition. Sometimes, adult boxelder bugs also ate other boxelder bug’s eggs and dead insects.

11. Where do boxelder bugs come from?

Boxelder bugs are basically from United States; the first outbreak of these bugs was reported in Columbia County but now they are everywhere from Southern Canada to Mexico. Now they are found in every boxelder trees or maple trees or ash trees.

12. Why do boxelder bugs stick together?

The main reason for their clustering is reproduction and security, boxelder bugs take hours to complete the process of reproduction and that’s why they stick to each other.

Female boxelder bugs are larger in size so they carry male bugs with them, this clustering make these bugs more secure and they look dangerous to predators.

Male boxelder bugs protect their mate boxelder bugs while they lay eggs.

One boxelder bug can have many mates and by sticking to each other, their mating chances become very high.

13. How do boxelder bugs get in the house?

They make their way through wall cracks and open windows and then they find a sunny and warm spot in your house and spend their whole winter in that place.

They can also come through the ventilators or chimneys basically anything which can be a way for their arrival; their flattened oval shape body helps them to slide in any surface or small cracks.


Boxelder bugs are totally nuisance for humans; they are very stinky and they travel in clusters, which looks very creepy in your house that’s why they are considered as pests. But on the other side they don’t harm anyone, they don’t make your food contaminated but who will going to eat a plum which is already eaten by an insect.

We see many methods to get rid of those bugs but after that, take some precautions so that they won’t come in next season. The only good thing about these bugs is, they don’t reproduce in your house, so you don’t need to worry about their increasing numbers.