Boxelder Bug


Actual Size: ½”

Characteristics: Oval-shaped and flat; black with orangish-red markings on their back.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Primarily invades boxelder trees. Drawn to warm and sunny areas, and may congregate in large numbers on the sides of homes.


  • Can emit a foul smell when crushed.
  • Often gather on the south side of trees and homes.
  • The wings overlap each other to form an “x” shape over their bodies.

Boxelder Bugs in Memphis TN Metro Area

Boxelder bugs are a type of true bug, and they derive their name from their primary host, the boxelder tree, which can be found across the United States. Typically, boxelder bugs feed on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods of box elder trees, although they may occasionally be found on maple and ash trees as well. During the fall season, these bugs often become bothersome as they gather together, searching for a place to spend the winter. Similar to many other pests, boxelder bugs are commonly noticed either when they enter homes for overwintering or when they emerge with the arrival of spring.

Boxelder Bug Habitat

During the autumn season, adult boxelder bugs gather on the southern sides of trees, rocks, and buildings to bask in the sun and warm themselves. As these bug clusters grow larger, they often take flight towards nearby buildings or other sheltered areas where they will hibernate throughout the winter. It’s not uncommon for them to enter homes and buildings, seeking refuge within the walls of the structure. While boxelder bugs do not reproduce indoors, they gain access through windows, doors, ceiling lights, soffit and dryer vents, outdoor faucets, and by clinging to the siding of a home.

Boxelder Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Boxelder bugs are typically not known to bite, although there have been rare instances of defensive biting. They do not possess stingers and are not recognized for causing damage to homes. However, their droppings can leave stains on light-colored surfaces. During the winter season, individual boxelder bugs or small groups may enter homes and unintentionally fly into windows, bathtubs, and sinks. They often gather on the floor near their chosen winter shelter. While boxelder bugs can be bothersome, they may also leave marks on curtains, furnishings, and clothing due to their excrement. When crushed, they emit an unpleasant odor. If trapped in basements or houses, they will eventually perish.

If you have a boxelder bug infestation, always call your local pest control professional for assistance.