What are Boxelder bugs?

What are Boxelder bugs? Boxelder bugs are a type of beetle that are about 1/2-inch long and love warm places. They, along with cluster flies and lady beetles, thrive during the summer and fall and then find a warm, heated building to survive during the cold of winter. They have three different developmental stages which are egg, nymph, and adults. Their eggs are laid in the spring on the inside of host trees or on their leaves. They are oval shaped and a reddish brown. Nymphs emerge from the eggs looking almost exactly like the adults except they are bright red and have no wings. The adults have colors ranging from gray to black with crisscrossing red stripes over their backs and wings. In autumn, boxelder bugs congregate into large masses where they sun on warm rocks, trees, and buildings. Then these pests can fly up to two miles as they migrate together into homes for warmth for the colder months as they hibernate. Although they do hibernate during the cold months, on warm winter days they are known to wake up and make their way into buildings. Only full grown adults can survive through winters.


Boxelder bugs, although a major nuisance, are not dangerous. They do not sting nor do they transmit disease. Very rarely are they known to bite and when they do, it is only out of defense. Boxelder bugs do not cause damage to homes nor do they significantly damage plants. However, their feces, if left over time, can stain light colored surfaces and when smashed, they can release an unpleasant odor. They feed on box elder trees as well as fruits but do not damage the trees more than slightly discoloring their leaves because of the feces they leave behind.


Box Elder bugs are known to congregate in areas where the sun shines on surfaces. They also feed on certain trees such as the Maple and Box Elder trees. Leaf debris is also a well-known source for Box Elder bugs.


Prevention is the number one way to control Box Elder bugs. This would include sealing cracks and crevices, checking attic and crawlspace vents, cleaning up leaf and plant debris, and chemically treating areas of the congregation because of heat from the sun. If the inside is already infested, professional services are recommended to inspect and diagnose the problem accurately. Let us know if you experience these issues. Our service technicians are willing and ready to eliminate pests for you.


Q: Why do I have box elder bugs around my home?

A: A common reason to see these pests crawling around your home is because of the environment they are attracted to. This would include certain trees, leaf debris, and warm sunny spots in your yard.

Q: How can I prevent box elder bugs on my property?

A: These bugs are attracted to specific species of plants, and getting rid of those plants in most cases is out of the question. However, clean up of the debris from these plants and chemically treating areas they congregate in is recommended.

Q: Why am I seeing box elder bugs inside my house?

A: Usually these bugs are getting in through cracks and crevices from the exterior into the inside of the home. These areas could be cracks in the foundation or siding, windows, and doors.

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Servicing customers in the Metro Omaha Area from Lincoln to Bellevue Nebraska

Recon Pest Services
9989 J Street
Omaha, NE 68127
Phone: 402-227-3266
Omaha Metro Area