Test Your Knowledge - September

A Test Your Knowledge Unknown
Adult boxelder bug
William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org

Yes, this is a boxelder bug.

Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) get their common name from their main plant hosts, boxelder trees (Acer negundo). However, for homeowners, it is not the boxelder bugs' feeding behavior on these trees or other plant hosts that is of concern. Rather, it is their periodic invasions of homes and other buildings in the fall as the temperature cools. Like lady beetles (ladybugs) that enter buildings in the fall, they are searching for somewhere to survive the winter.

As the weather cools in the fall, boxelder bugs congregate in large number on the south and west sides of trees, rocks, houses, etc. They can be a nuisance pest if they find their way into a home. Their feces can leave red stains on fabric, wallpaper and other surfaces. If crushed, they release a foul odor. If handled, they occasionally "bite", which may irritate the skin and will sometimes cause the development of a small ulcer-like lesion.

There are various options available for managing these seasonal pests. To learn more, see HGIC 2409, Boxelder Bugs.

J. McLeod Scott
Home & Garden Information Center

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