Currently viewing the category: "Box Elder Bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red and purple beetle
Location: SE Michigan
June 25, 2016 4:48 pm
Hi bugman!
I just noticed thousands of these guys hanging out in my backyard mostly around decorative grass and dry whirlybirds. They vary in size and amount of yellow and seem to like to clump together.
Signature: Lisa M

Boxelder Bug Nymphs

Boxelder Bug Nymphs

Dear Lisa M,
These are immature Eastern Boxelder Bugs,
Boisea trivittata.  Adults are winged.  Both adults and nymphs form large aggregations leading to popular names like Democrat Bugs or Populist Bugs.  According to BugGuide they feed on the seeds of the following trees:  “Acer grandidentatum (Bigtooth Maple), A. negundo (Boxelder), A. saccharinum (Silver Maple), A. buergerianum (Trident Maple), and Sapindus saponaria (Soapberry).”  You must have a nearby maple tree.  Boxelder Bugs do not harm the trees and they are not dangerous, but they can be a nuisance if they are too plentiful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red beetle
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
June 14, 2016 7:52 am
I think these are the babies of a black and red beetle. They have swarmed my echinacea!
Thanks for helping to identify.
Signature: Kristen

Democrat Bugs

Democrat Bugs

Dear Kristen,
These are immature Eastern Boxelder Bug nymphs, not beetles.  They are sometimes called Democrat Bugs because they aggregate in large numbers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Box Elder Bug Love
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
May 22, 2016 8:46 pm
At first I thought these were beetles, but after a bit of google research I have come to think they are Box Elder Bugs. I found them like this on my window screen (mating?) where they stayed for 2-3 days with little movement.
I was unable to get a photo of the top side (or even see it), but I spotted another one about a week later and after viewing its top side it appeared to be a box elder bug.
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
Time: Around the last week of April
Signature: Anonymous

Mating Boxelder Bugs

Mating Boxelder Bugs

Dear Anonymous,
A ventral view is not ideal for an exact identification, but the red eyes that are clearly visible on the pair in your image and in this BugGuide image are a very strong indication that they are mating Boxelder Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: More kissing bugs?
Location: Pennsylvania
April 20, 2016 11:11 am
Hi,
I sent a photo earlier today of a bug to see if it was a kissing bug. Here are a couple more photos. There are dozens of these guys all around my house. If you could help me identify them I would appreciate it. I’m terrified that they are deadly kissing bugs!
There are a bunch of these on the screens outside my house. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I have occasionally found them inside. Some are bigger without the red markings, but up too high so I can’t get a good photo. If it is a kissing bug, how worried should I be. And how should I get rid of them? Thanks!
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Michelle

Mating Boxelder Bugs

Mating Boxelder Bugs

Dear Michelle,
You have nothing to fear from these mating Eastern Boxelder Bugs.  They are harmless, though they can pose a considerable nuisance when they form large aggregations on exterior walls of homes.  They tend to favor walls with light colors and sunny exposures, exactly like those in your image.  You may or may not be amused that Eastern Boxelder Bugs are also known as Democrat Bugs because of the large aggregations they form.  Seems they are making a timely appearance with your Pennsylvania primary election occurring next week.

Thank you so much!! I really appreciate you getting back to me!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?!
Location: Massachusetts
March 10, 2016 5:56 am
This insect survives all winter and gathers by the hundreds in clusters on the south side of my home, in the sun. They find their way inside my home and I release them. Are they harmful and how can I get them to leave the area without killing them?!
Thank you! Kevin
Signature: Kph

Democrat Bug

Democrat Bug

Dear Kevin,
This is an Eastern Boxelder Bug,
Boisea trivittata, but we are really amused at its other common name, Democrat Bug, so we are postdating your submission to go live the day before the primary elections Tuesday to remind our readers to get out and vote.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs hibernate over the winter, and they will emerge on sunny days exactly as you describe.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs are benign, though they can become a nuisance when they appear in great numbers, especially if they decide to hibernate indoors.  If you are not troubled with their appearance, you can safely allow them to sun themselves as they pose no threat to you, your pets or your home, nor do they damage plants as they feed primarily on seeds.  The common name Democrat Bug, as well as names like Populist Bug and Politician Bug, refers to the communal habits of the Boxelder Bugs, and in light of the political circus of the 2016 primary season, we will be featuring your submission for the duration of the election season.

Very helpful, thank you for taking the time to respond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fat orange juvenile(?) insect.
Location: Walnut Creek CA open space near pond.
February 29, 2016 7:06 pm
I found the group of orange insects with black spots near water last August, in the Walnut Creek Open Space, California. Later I found an earlier picture of a what must be a close relative of this bug in my files. I don’t know where I found it. That one does not have the spots.
I hope you can tell me what these critters are.
Signature: Dirk Muehlner

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Dear Dirk,
We wish you had not cropped your image.  These sure look like Large Milkweed Bug nymphs,
Oncopeltus fasciatus, based on this BugGuide image, and they do appear to be feeding on milkweed pods, but we would love to see more of the plant to try to identify the species of milkweed.  The image you captured earlier is also a True Bug in the suborder Heteroptera, but from there the taxonomies diverge.  The Large Milkweed Bugs are Seed Bugs in the family Lygaeidae and the other is a solitary Western Boxelder Bug nymph, Boisea rubrolineata, in the Scentless Plant Bug family Rhopalidae which you can verify on BugGuide

Western Boxelder Bug Nymph

Western Boxelder Bug Nymph

Update:  March 7, 2016
Hi Daniel
Thank you for identifying these Large Milkweed Bug larvae!  You regretted that my image was cropped and I found a less cropped version, for what it’s worth.

Large Milkweed Bugs (juvenile)

Large Milkweed Bugs (juvenile)

Thanks again.   I really appreciate your response to my query.
Dirk

Wow Dirk,
We are so excited to get an image that includes the narrow leaf milkweed seed pods and the leaf is also visible.  Las Pilitas Nursery has more wonderful information on the California Narrow Leaf Milkweed, a critical plant in a vibrant ecosystem that we profile in Milkweed Meadow.

Narrow Leaf Milkweed with Large Milkweed Bug nymphs

Narrow Leaf Milkweed with Large Milkweed Bug nymphs

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination