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Boxelder Bugs

Eastern Box Elder Bugs

Eastern Box Elder Bugs (Photo credit: milesizz)

Boxelder bugs are a North American species of true bug, also commonly known as the zug, or maple bug. It is most often discovered on boxelder trees, as well as maple and ash trees. The adults are about a half an inch long, with a dark brown or black coloration, red wing veins and markings on the abdomen.

If disturbed, this true bug will release a pungent and bad-tasting compound, that is highly effective in discouraging predators and allows them to congregate; without being preyed on. However, their congregation habits and associated odor can annoy people, earning them the distinction; of a common pest and household nuisance.

Although boxelder bugs may occasionally pierce plant tissues while feeding, they are not known to cause significant damage to gardens and farmer’s crops, and therefore are not widely considered to be an agricultural pest; or significant bug control problem. However, during the cooler Fall months, boxelder bugs may invade houses, dwellings and structures, seeking a warm place to spend the Winter.