Subject: mystery bug
Location: Southern California
June 28, 2017 8:10 am
Hi. Please identify this bug for me. I think it is an actual bug (Hemiptera). Thanks.
Signature: lanny@herbwalks.com

Western Boxelder Bug

Dear Lanny,
This is a Western Boxelder Bug and they are known to form large aggregations when conditions are favorable.

Thanks, Daniel. That was fast! I saw a pic of a boxelder bug on your site and thought it looked similar but we don’t have boxelders growing in this area. Does it feed or host on another Southern California plant?
Lanny Kaufer

Hi Lanny,
According to BugGuide they will feed on many species of maple as well as other trees:  “hosts:
Acer grandifolium (Bigleaf Maple), A. negundo (Boxelder), A. saccharinum (Silver Maple), Koelreuteria paniculata (Goldenrain Tree), and Sapindus saponaria (Western Soapberry)  Flowers and young seeds are preferred, so female trees often support larger populations; may also feed on foliage, on sap seeping from wounds on branches/trunks, and on fallen seeds. They will sometimes feed on trees of the Rose Family (Malus, Pyrus, Prunus, etc.) and cause minor damage to commercial fruit (rarely). 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, smashed insects, etc.”

There are Bigleaf Maples in the creek where this one was seen so that would explain its presence.
Thanks again!
Lanny

Location: southern California

2 Responses to Western Boxelder Bug

  1. Janet says:

    I saw a few Western Boxelder Bugs on my patio in Chatsworth, CA a few weeks ago, but today when I walked out in my yard past the patio they are all over!!! This is the first year I have ever seen them at all. There are a ton of smaller red ones and plenty of the bigger black and red ones. I have lived in this home for over 30 years and never seen them before this year!

    Should I be concerned,

    Thanks,
    Janet

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