Eastern Boxelder Bug

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.

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.

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.

1 thought on “Eastern Boxelder Bug”

Leave a Comment