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

Subject: Unknown true bug
Location: Bentonville, Arkansas
December 7, 2013 8:28 am
These guys have been very common around and occasionally in my house especially in the fall. We live in a subdivision but our backyard is surrounded by forest. This guy and another were dead on my front windowsill by December 6. I feel like I saw live ones during a recent warm snap. Today the temperature was as low as one degree F. This may be why they are dead now.
Signature: Adam Schaffer

Boxelder Bug

Boxelder Bug

Dear Adam,
We often get reports of Eastern Boxelder Bugs,
Boisea trivittata, like the one in your photograph entering homes to hibernate when the weather cools down.  Boxelder Bugs are benign creatures, but they can make a nuisance of themselves if they are plentiful.  See BugGuide for additional information on Eastern Boxelder Bugs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red Bug ID…Please
Location: Golden,BC., Canada
September 20, 2013 3:51 pm
These bugs seem to have appeared very quickly and I have never seen them in this area berfore. I need to know if they are harmful to my family or my home. They also seem to be multiplying very quickly. Any info you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Signature: Claude Poirier

Eastern Boxelder Bugs

Eastern Boxelder Bugs

Hi Claude,
Eastern Boxelder Bugs, or Democrat Bugs as they are also called in parts of the midwest south of the border from you, do not pose any threat to your family or home, but they can become a nuisance if they get plentiful, especially since they have a habit of entering homes to hibernate when the weather begins to cool.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Ottawa Canada
March 27, 2013 6:11 pm
I started to see these bugs last year. They start out as tiny pin head size bugs that are totally red. There are thousands in a nest which looks like a moving bunch of red dots. As they grow they start to become black untill they are mostly black with a little red. They also can fly. They were everywhere in the fall. Thousands of them all over my house and I saw a lot of nests on my property. They seem to be harmless as they will walk on you and not bite. The only bother is the sheer number and now that spring has come, they seem to be coming from nowhere. I am just curious as I have never seen this bug in my life. They seem to be about 1/2” full grown, six legs and two antenna. Thanks.
Signature: Harry Van Hofwegen

Our Automated Response
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can.

Hello:
Thanks for your email.  Crazy thing, but I have looked for a long time and I just stumbled on an image of this bug so I just figured it out.  It is a Boxelder bug.  I have never seen them around my home ever until last year and now I have thousands of them.  I appreciate you guys and the work you do for people.  I hope they will leave soon because they are annoying.
Cheers,
Harry

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Hi Harry,
We are happy to hear you quickly identified your Eastern Boxelder Bug once you discovered our site.  We have numerous postings of the aggregations the Eastern Boxelder Bugs form, especially in late summer and autumn.  They feed on the seeds of boxelder trees and other maples, so we assume you have a large maple tree or trees near your home.  Boxelder Bugs also enter homes in the fall to hibernate.  Boxelder Bugs often have isolated populations that are very numerous, but several hundred feet away, they are noticeable absent.  Their populations might also fluctuate greatly from year to year.  We suspect if the conditions are right for them in your yard, they are most likely there to stay.  We will be away from the office for a few days for the holidays, so we are postdating your submission to go live later in the week.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug?
Location: Illinois
March 10, 2013 3:22 am
These bugs are overwhelming us. What can we do to get rid of them? Seem to be attracted to wood.
Signature: Sandy Berg

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Dear Sandy,
Eastern Boxelder Bugs or Democrat Bugs,
Boisea trivittata, often enter homes in great numbers to hibernate.  The best way to safeguard against this is to weatherproof your home and eliminate any small cracks and gaps where they can gain entry.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Critters wandering around my house
Location: Washington, DC
January 21, 2013 3:06 pm
We recently moved into a new condo in Washington, DC, and are seeing these little critters (I shan’t say ”bug” until I hear from the bugman!) wandering around. I scoop them onto paper and put them out the window without issue.
I think they’ve been coming in through cracks or unscreened windows left open, though it’s a bit odd that I’m not seeing any other types of visitors.
They seem harmless, but I’d like to know more!
Signature: CreatureWatcher

Eastern Boxelder Bug

Dear CreatureWatcher,
This is an Eastern Boxelder Bug,
Boisea trivittata, a species sometimes called a Democrat Bug because they tend to aggregate in large numbers in sunny locations, a habit that some folks have likened to political gatherings.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs are True Bugs, so you may refer to them as bugs.  We suspect you are finding them indoors because when the weather cools, Boxelder Bug, like many other True Bugs, seek shelter indoors to hibernate.  When things warm up, they become active and try to find egress to the outdoors again.  It seems very appropriate that these Democrat Bugs made an appearance on Inauguration Day.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Eastern Boxelder Bugs
Location: Northeast Alabama
November 11, 2012 4:36 pm
Found these bugs on and around this tree in my yard. thought I would share.
Signature: Samuel

Boxelder Bugs aggregate on a tree trunk

Dear Samuel,
The bark on this tree resembles that of a maple.  Do you know if the tree is a maple?  We also suspect this spot on the bark faces south and it might get late afternoon sun, though there was very flat lighting at the time your photo was taken.  Boxelder Bugs are sometimes called Democrat Bugs, and it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation to the parts of the country where Democrat Bug is used and the party makeup of the inhabitants there.

Democrat Bugs Congregate

Don’t know the type of tree it is. The spot on the bark does face the south.

Boxelder Bugs

Thanks Samuel,
We took a closer look at your third photo, which up until now we had not posted, and some of the leaves on the ground appear to be maple.  Other leaves look like Oak.  To the best of our knowledge, the food source for this species are seeds of boxelder and other maple trees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination