Democrat Bugs

Boxelder Bug aggregations are a metaphor for political gatherings during election season!!!

Subject: red black tree bug?
Location: Carthage, MO
September 12, 2012 1:25 pm
found a nest of these the other day when i was mowing. havent seen these before. They havent came into the house yet so i was wondering if they should be messed with or just let them run their course.
Signature: Sam Scott

Boxelder Bugs

Hi Sam,
You encountered an aggregation of Eastern Boxelder Bugs,
Boisea trivittata.  They can become a bit of a nuisance when they get plentiful, but they are basically a benign species that does not harm the tree since they feed on the seeds of boxelder and other trees, and their feeding does not do any damage to the trees themselves.  Eastern Boxelder Bugs hibernate during the winter and they have been known to enter homes, often in large numbers, to escape the cold.  They appear in great numbers in sunny locations, often on the southern exposures of houses, and generally during warm fall days.  Boxelder Bugs are also called Democrat Bugs, Populist Bugs or Politician Bugs according to BugGuide, most likely because their appearance seems to coincide with the political conventions and gatherings just prior to election season.  Our staff has been following election coverage recently and we have been hoping to get a nice photo of an Eastern  Boxelder Bug aggregation so that we could create a new posting, and though your photo doesn’t really accurately depict the massive groupings that have resulted in Boxelder Bugs being compared metaphorically to the crowds of people who gather during political gatherings, it is the first example we have received this political season.

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