many box elder bugs

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These small bugs get their name from the tree that they are often found on, the box elder tree. The box elder is a group of trees that include Box elder, Box elder Maple, Ash-leaved Maple and Maple Ash. These common household insects are found in many areas including here in South Carolina.

a box elder bug on a rock

What do box elder bugs look like?

It is most easy to identify box elder bugs by their red and orange marking and oval shaped body. When they are infesting a home or a tree on your property, they are likely going to be in a large group, clustered together.

Quick box elder bugs facts

  • Congregate in large numbers on the south side of trees, houses, and other areas that face the sun when fall is approaching

  • Enter structures in the fall to avoid the cold weather and exit in the spring

  • Are considered nuisance pests that do not harm structures, belongings, or occupants

  • Are destructive to the boxelder trees primarily but also maple and ash trees

Box elder bug habits and behaviors

The box elder bug lives on the maple and seed-bearing box elder trees during warmer months. They lay their eggs and feed on the leaves, flowers and seeds. Sometimes they can be found feeding on the fruit of apple and plum trees, too. In autumn, the box elder bugs will gather in groups on the south side of rocks and trees taking advantage of the warmer sunshine. When it gets colder, they look for warmer buildings or homes to spend the colder winter months. They can get in the tiny cracks and crevices in walls and stay dormant through the winter, right in your home. Then in late March to early April, the adults leave these tiny cracks and crevices to return to the outdoors. So while box elder bugs are mainly considered a fall pest, many homeowners also find them in the spring when they are making their way back outside.

Are box elder bugs dangerous?

The box elder is not considered dangerous. The mouthparts that are used for piercing leaves, fruit, seeds and flowers can make a small puncture in the skin in rare cases. It would just leave a local reaction like a mosquito bite but this is not common. Box elders can present a problem when they overwinter in homes and buildings. Any bugs that die in the walls will then attract beetles and other pests. But for the most part, box elders are just a nuisance pest.

Does Aiken treat box elder bugs?

Yes, we do treat for box elder bugs. Please call us for more information on our home pest control services.


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