What is this Beetle in Vancouver, WA
April 6, 2010
My husband’s brother in Vancouver, WA had many of these beetles on the back of his house, on the windows, deck etc. I thought he’d appreciate my finding out what they are and if they should be concerned or happy. Thank you.
Just found your web site and it is wonderful!
Vancouver, WA

Western Boxelder Bugs

Dear Annette,
These are not beetles, but rather, they are True Bugs, Western Boxelder Bugs to be exact.  The Western Boxelder Bug, Boisea rubrolineata, is found west of the Rocky Mountains.  According to BugGuide, they:  “Feed on a variety of mostly woody plant species, but Boxelder (Acer negundo), Silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and other maples (Acer spp.), as well as Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria spp.) are favorites. Ash (Fraxinus spp.) is listed as a common host in literature, but it is usually not a favorite. Flowers and young seeds are prefered, so female trees often support larger populations; however, they also feed from foliage, at sap that leaks from wounds on branches and trunks, and from seeds on the ground. They will sometimes feed on trees of the Rose Family (such as Malus, Pyrus and Prunus), and rarely they may cause some minor damage to commercial fruit crops. They are recorded to feed on plants as diverse as Grass, Alfalfa, and Potatoes. It is even common to see them gathered and sucking fluids from other substances such as discarded human food, or smashed insects such as Grasshoppers and particularly Roaches.
”  Western Boxelder Bugs, and their relatives to the east, the Eastern Boxelder Bugs, Boisea trivittata, are not considered to be pest species, but they can become a nuisance when they are extremely plentiful.  Both species may seek shelter indoors when the weather turns cooler.

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