At past home shows, we had a number of inquiries about what this bug “mystery bug” was. No one who asked us knew what it was called, they just had a description of what it looked like, so we ended doing some research using our handy bug books and were able to identify it as the Boxelder bug.
The Boxelder bug (Boisea trivittata) is a North American species of true bug (which is an order of insects) that is also known as the zug or the maple bug. These bugs are usually often found on boxelder trees but can also be found on maple and ash trees. They will also hang out on wooden structures providing they like the wood it’s made out of.
Adult Boxelder bugs are only about 1/2 inch long and are dark brown or black with red veins and markings, while the nymphs are completely bright red.
Boxelder bugs are not really considered to be an agricultural pest and they are not known to cause significant damage to their surroundings. Many people do find them to be a nuisance though because they can release a pungent and bad-tasting (what? why would anyone taste this?) compound when being disturned which they do to discourage being prey. Their congregation habits and excreta can also annoy people and since they can and will enter homes especially when the weather gets colder also help with them being considered a nuisance pest. Generally, they will take up residence in the walls to hibernate when it’s cold but they can be found throughout your home too.
Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Cottage Country Pest Control can work to determine if Boxelder bugs or any other pest you have issues with need pest control and what methods would work. To book an appointment you can email us or call us at 705-534-7863.