Boxelder bugs are aptly named for their source of food, the boxelder tree. They suck the juices from these trees but are also sometimes found on plants. They are not a very damaging species, but the sheer number of them can be a nuisance. They develop into adults through metamorphosis, gradually changing from egg, to nymph, to a full-grown adult. Boxelder bugs are commonly found all across the United States, and are easily distinguishable by the narrow reddish lines on their back. They are about 1/2 inch long.
When boxelder bugs build up to large populations, they can invade a home's landscape and even make their way indoors. They don't particularly damage trees, plants or a home's interior through feeding. They're safe and not poisonous to humans, but their piercing-sucking mouthparts can occasionally puncture skin. The only outcome of this is slight irritation of the skin and usually is not anything to be concerned about. When the weather turns cooler during the fall months, adult boxelder bugs will enter structures, seeking winter shelter. They look to nest in places protected from the harsh winter elements, such as houses and other buildings, cracks or crevices in walls, doors, under windows and around foundations, particularly on south and west exposures. Boxelder bugs are very resilient insects, and can even come out during the dead of winter. They seek host trees on which to feed and lay their eggs, creating the next generation of boxelder bugs.
If you notice a sudden influx of these black and red insects, contact Pest EZ East as soon as possible to prevent a few of them from turning into a swarm!