Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are black with reddish or orange markings on their back. Adult boxelder bugs have a body shape that is a somewhat-flattened and elongated oval and is about half an inch long. They have six legs and two antennae that are typically half of their body length. Boxelder bugs get their common name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees. Box Elder bugs remain inactive inside the walls (and behind siding) while the weather is cool. Warmth from heating systems revives them, falsely perceiving it to be springtime and enter buildings in search of food and water. They are also known as the “Democrat bug,” the “zug” and the “maple bug.” They are sometimes called “Democrats bugs,” because they swarm during October, which is right before people vote. They feed mostly on maple or boxelder trees. They can invade houses or other man-made buildings. They hibernate inside of walls in the winter. They do not reproduce inside homes, only outside. They cannot or do not bite people. Box elder bugs secrete a reddish-orange substance that can stain curtains, carpeting, furniture and clothing. It’s released through their feces or when their bodies are crushed. In the latter case, their carcasses also emit a foul odor.

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