The Box Elder Bug has a size of up to 1/2-inch and varies in color from gray to black with crisscrossing red stripes on the wings. Nymphs have bright red abdomen. A number of insects have found that heated buildings are ideal for surviving the cold of winter. Such pests include older box critters, bunch flies, and lady beetles. As the weather cools in late summer and early fall, the sun warms the south and west walls of buildings. The heat draws these insects to buildings where they crawl inside cracks and remain there for the winter. That would be nice, but during the hot winter days, some insects “wake up” and end up inside the building. Older bugs feed on maple and older box trees and generally infest buildings where these types of trees are nearby.

Boxelder bugs get their regular name from the way they are frequently found near boxelder trees. This species is local to the western states, yet can be found from eastern Canada through the eastern United States, and west to eastern Nevada wherever the boxelder trees are found.


In the pre-winter, boxelder insects end up noticeably gregarious and gather on the south side of rocks, trees and structures where the sun hits. After substantial masses accumulate, they move to nearby structures or houses to spend the winter. These parasites tend to stretch in small splits and fissures in the dividers to protect them from the cold winter temperatures. From late March to early April, adults leave their winter destinations to return to their host trees during the warmer months.

How to prevent/control

So as to keep boxelder bugs from attacking homes, repair openings in window and entryway screens, seal cracks and openings with a decent quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk . When endeavoring to dispose of boxelder bugs that have as of now entered a home or building, no endeavor ought to be made to slaughter them in divider voids since dead creepy crawly bodies can draw in dermestid scarabs. Or maybe, utilizing a vacuum cleaner to evacuate them may give impermanent help. The pack ought to be expelled to keep the bugs from getting away. In the event that a boxelder pervasion is suspected, an authorized vermin control administrator ought to be called to assess and survey the issue.

The best way to control such pests is by prevention as described below. If it is too late and they are already in, it takes a professional to find and treat the right areas to minimize the number of pests seen on the inside. If your home has a winter pest problem, take the following steps next summer to avoid a recurrence:

  • Seal as many cracks and holes as possible outside the house, especially on the south and west walls where the sun warms the house during late summer and fall.
  • Make sure that all foundation and attic openings have tight screens.
  • Check the soffit openings and any gable openings or turbine openings on the roof.
  • Have a professional treatment the exterior walls west and south of the house near the eaves. This treatment should be completed by mid-August.

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