Box Elder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs are beetle-like insects known as nuisance pests in and around homes and buildings near plantings of the box elder tree (Acer negundo). They are also attracted to maple, ash and fruit trees. Adults are ½ inch long and somewhat flattened on the top, with reddish-orange stripes on their wings. They release a strong, foul odor when crushed.


Boxelder Bugs damage trees and other plants by sucking the fluid out of the foliage. Outdoors, Boxelder Bugs feed on foliage fruit and flowers but rarely do serious damage. They are most active in the fall, when you're most likely to find them in your home, seeking a warm hibernation spot for winter. While they don't feed on furniture or fabrics, Boxelder Bugs are a nuisance indoors due to their excrement and smell when crushed, and because they feed on houseplants.


Boxelder Bugs are found throughout the United States, east of Nevada.

Similar or Related Pests

Western Boxelder Bug, Goldenrain Tree Bug

Cultural Solutions

  • Inspect, repair and/or replace all screens and seals "Ò in windows, doors, roof and soffit vents and exhaust fans. Be sure the backflow preventer is tightly sealed.
  • Insects only need 1/8 of an inch to gain access to your home, so seal spots where items penetrate your home's exterior (dryer vents, etc.). Use caulk, expandable spray foam, or other sealants.
  • Do not caulk brick openings in mortar.