Boxelder Bug


Actual Size: ½”

Characteristics: Flat and oval-shaped body. Dark in color with red or orange markings around the wings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Drawn to boxelder trees and bright, sunny areas along the sides of homes.


  • Emits a foul odor when crushed or killed.
  • In the fall, large groups will infest the south side of trees, homes, and buildings.
  • Their wings lay flat in an “x” shape across their bodies.

Boxelder Bugs in North Jersey

Named after their favorite tree to infest, boxelder bugs are a common pest across the United States. They primarily feed on the seed pods, leaves, and flowers of the boxelder tree, but they also occasionally infest maple or ash trees – making them a pretty big problem here in New Jersey. Particularly in early fall, the bugs can become a big nuisance while they search for an overwintering site and congregate in large groups. Though they are inactive in the winter, they’re often seen flying around in the spring and summer.

Boxelder Bug Habitat

Boxelder bugs are classified as “true bugs”, meaning they have two pairs of wings and a needle-like mouthpart that they use to extract fluids from plants and animals. These pests are most known for collecting in alarmingly large groups in direct sunlight. While it can be unnerving to come across a bunch of bugs crawling up the side of a wall, they typically only pose a threat to the health of your nearby trees. They will also occasionally enter a home or building when searching for a place to spend the winter. Boxelder bugs can sneak indoors through windows, doors, plumbing vents, and broken siding.

Boxelder Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Boxelder bugs are not aggressive; in fact, there are only a few rare reports of defensive biting. While they do not sting and are not known to cause damage to homes, they are still a nuisance to deal with. Boxelder bugs can ruin the health of your trees, and their feces can stain light-colored surfaces. They can also emit an offensive odor when crushed, which can stink up your home quickly if they make it indoors.

If you have a boxelder bug infestation, always call your local pest control professional for assistance. We can help get rid of the pests quickly and efficiently, regardless of whether they’re inside your house or out in the trees. Get in touch today for a pest-free* property!