Boxelder bugs against a white background - Keep boxelders away from your home with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

Boxelder Bug

Actual Size: ½”

Characteristics: Small insects with a flat, oval-shaped body. Color is black except for the red or orange-tipped wings, which cross in an X-shaped pattern.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: As their name suggests, these insects prefer to live near host boxelder trees. They are also attracted to warm and sunny areas.


  • Particularly in the fall, they may congregate in large numbers on the south side of trees. 
  • Known for emitting an offensive odor when crushed or threatened. 
  • Named after their prime host, the boxelder tree, which is found across the United States.
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Boxelder Bugs in Kailua Kona

Boxelder bugs are true insects belonging to the order Hemiptera. These small, elongated bugs are known for their distinctive black and red coloration, with prominent red markings on their wings and thorax. While they primarily feed on the seeds of boxelder trees, they are also found on other maple and ash trees, as well as fruit trees. Boxelder bugs are commonly encountered in the United States, particularly in the central and eastern regions.

Boxelder Bug Habitat

During the warmer months, boxelder bugs can be found in abundance on the sunny sides of these trees, where they feed on the seeds and foliage. As autumn approaches, these insects seek shelter in various locations, including buildings and structures. They often congregate on the southern and western sides of homes to bask in the sun for warmth. This behavior makes them a noticeable presence in residential areas during the fall.

Boxelder Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While boxelder bugs are not harmful, their seasonal movements and tendency to gather in large numbers can lead to occasional inconvenience for homeowners—especially if the insects sneak indoors. Though they aren’t known for spreading disease or causing structural damage, finding boxelder bugs all over your house can be a real pain. These insects also emit a foul odor when crushed, making it difficult to get rid of them on your own. 

If you have a boxelder bug infestation, contact your local pest control professional for assistance.