Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2-inch long, black with orange or red markings. Their wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’. The immature nymphs are 1/16th-inch long and bright red when they first hatch. As they grow older and become larger, they are red and black.
Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest and treatment is not necessary for control. They congregate on warm surfaces in huge numbers and enter homes and other buildings and can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement. You may see them on your houseplants but normally they do not do any damage.
Adults feed on low vegetation and seeds on the ground during spring and early summer, and begin mating a couple weeks after they started feeding. Starting in mid-July, they move to female seed-bearing boxelder trees where they lay eggs on trunks, branches, and leaves. They are rarely found on male boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs may also feed on maple or ash trees. There is no noticeable feeding injury to these trees. These insects can be found throughout the year in Atlanta. If they are being a nuisance simply hose them off the walls outside or just vacuum them up inside.« Back to Glossary Index