Boxelder Bug


Actual Size: ½”

Characteristics: Flat, oval-shaped bodies; black with orangish-red markings on their backs.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: True to their name, these bugs primarily infest box elder trees. They also congregate in large numbers in sunny areas, like the side of a building.


  • Emits a pungent smell when crushed. 
  • Wings overlap to form an ‘X’ shape on their bodies. 
  • In the fall, they gather in large numbers on the south side of trees or homes.

Boxelder Bugs in Anaheim

Boxelder bugs are true bugs that get their name from their favorite home, the boxelder tree. These insects are found all across the United States and mainly feed on the leaves, seeds, and flowers of the boxelder tree. However, boxelder bugs may also infest maple or ash trees. At the beginning of fall, these bugs gather together in search of a place to overwinter, which is usually when they become a problem for home or business owners. 

Boxelder Bug Habitat

In the fall, adult boxelder bugs gather on the sunny sides of trees, rocks, and buildings to soak up warmth from the sun. When a lot of them come together, they often take flight and head towards nearby buildings or other sheltered locations where they can overwinter. Sometimes, they find their way into houses and buildings and congregate inside the walls. It’s worth noting that boxelder bugs don’t reproduce when indoors; they simply get inside through windows, doors, lights in the ceiling, vents, outdoor faucets, and along the sides of houses.

Boxelder Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Boxelder bugs are usually not known for biting, although there have been rare reports of them biting when they feel threatened. These bugs also don’t sting and rarely cause damage to homes. That said, their droppings can leave stains on light-colored surfaces, and they can emit a foul odor when squished. Infestations in early autumn can also be unnerving, as the boxelder bugs will gather in groups of hundreds or thousands. If you’re dealing with a lot of boxelder bugs, it’s a good idea to contact a local pest control expert for help.