Boxelder Bug, Eastern Boxelder Bug (Boisea trivittata)

Order: Hemiptera
Family: Rhopalidae
Genus: Boisea
Species: trivittata


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Bessemer, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Barling, Arkansas
Longmont, Colorado
Wilmington, Delaware
Haines City, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Kankakee, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Dallas Center, Iowa
Newton, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Lafayette, Louisiana
Acton, Massachusetts
Casnovia, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Howell, Michigan
Kalkaska, Michigan
Midland, Michigan
Northville, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Circle Pines, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Bridgeton, Missouri
Omaha, Nebraska
Pequannock, New Jersey
Fairport, New York
Genoa, New York
North Collins, New York
Southold, New York
Mooresville, North Carolina
Beach, North Dakota
Belfield, North Dakota
Toledo, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Baker City, Oregon
Dallas, Oregon
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Antioch, Tennessee
Clarksville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
De Leon, Texas
Magna, Utah
Payson, Utah
Norfolk, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Winchester, Virginia
Meadow Creek, West Virginia
Sinks Grove, West Virginia
Madison, Wisconsin
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Oct 4, 2021, prairiefuser from Oacoma, SD wrote:

These bugs showed up in huge numbers on the south side of our garage. One day I noticed one in the garage on its back rotating a rather large piece of leaf with its feet. I helpfully removed the leaf and righted the bug, who found the leaf, crawled under it, rolled over, and continued rotating. WHAT??!!


On Aug 5, 2019, MomD from Lexington, MI wrote:

This bug is a real pain. I was told by a bug expert that they use Murphy's Oil Soap and water to get rid of them. Just a small amount of soap with a spray bottle of water knocks them right down! We've had them here in Lexington, MI for years on a box elder tree (and on everything else). This year we didn't see any for the first time. All the leaves on the tree had black spots on them, but this year it is clean. The last couple of years they moved to other areas of the property but have stayed away from the house. Also, the soap keeps the vinyl siding nice and clean.


On Aug 5, 2019, weedwhisperer from Midland, MI wrote:

In 48640 (Mid-MI) they are horrific. Claims they are harmless is bogus. Everything we could find said the same. "They cycle". "they can be a nuisance, but harmless"...LIES.
They decimate our maples; and e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. in the garden. They are adapting beyond their range. Nymphs are found in March/April leaf litter by the thousands. THOUSANDS.
Combat has been dawn soap halved with vinegar; sprayed on nymphs to adults when seen. (In mass quantities.) We keep this mixture limited to house; and any area NOT, designated for garden/food purpose. As vinegar will kill green space.
Dawn to suffocate,vinegar to ensure demise.


On Sep 10, 2018, horsefethers from Calgary, Alberta,
Canada wrote:

These are quite common in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the fall. I have not any complaints as have not seen any damage done by them so far. They seem to like to get into warmer places for winter, like your house!


On Aug 3, 2011, michiganflower from Northville, MI wrote:

I have not been able to find any information in regards to this insect being a "pest bug" and have wondered if I have not misidentified this creature. The nymphs suck the life out of my raspberries, potatoes and various other plants. They have become a true pest here. We have hundreds of silver maple, which seems to attract them. I spray them with a mixture of soapy water, garlic and hot pepper. It does kill them, but thousands appear again. It seems the season is over for the time being. What a relief! It is my second most hated insect here, just above the dreaded Japanese beetle.


On Nov 22, 2010, Nfredible from Norfolk, VA wrote:

I posted a pic of the bug found at my house, but honestly can't identify for sure whether it is the Boisea trivittata or not. It seems to share all the traits given, is residing only on the Southern face of my house under the vinyl siding. If anyone has can find the picture posted by me and can positively ID the insect, i would appreciate it.


On May 16, 2009, Dedda from Petersburg, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

The tree that these critters feasted upon was cut down over a decade ago, before we bought the house.However they seem to grow in numbers every year, even invaded the attick this last year...
Does anyone know of anything that works- short of chemical warfare or a flame thrower?


On May 4, 2009, addicted2plants from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

We also had Golden Raintree. I took the bugs to Missouri Botanical Garden "bugologist" who told me it was Box Elder Bug. The minute I mentioned they were all over near the Golden Rain tree he said cut it down. Tree was already looking bad..cut it down and no more bugs LOL


On Mar 19, 2009, fairladymi from Howell, MI wrote:

Southeastern Michigan - in the fall they cover the west side of my house (where the sun is) and they seem to find their way in no matter what I do. In any research I've done, the best thing I've come up with is to vacuum them up. I have a LazerVac (very handy for any kind of bug). My daughter sprayed Windex on an area where they were and they just dropped off. Probably because it was slippery. This is March and now I'm seeing all the ones who wintered over in the cracks, etc. I just keep vacuuming!


On Jun 22, 2008, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

To the posters discussing Golden Raintrees and this bug,
there is a very similar bug in the same family that prefers Golden Raintrees, so that might be what you're seeing:

[[email protected]]


On Mar 12, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have seen them all growing season long - clearly they feed on some plants other than boxelders - I heard they prefer certain sexes of boxelder. I am curious about why goldenrain trees- clearly they are not part of Acer genus (Maple) I will have to research them. Maybe the particular goldenrain tree were genetic extra susceptible or stressed so that why it attracted more bugs than neighbor.


On Oct 13, 2007, cathy4 from St. Louis County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

We had these bugs so bad we had to cut down the tree they lived on. We could scoop them up with a shovel to put in a bag. They invaded our house, covered the sunny side of the house until you couldn't see the siding. They leave little smeary marks on everything. It was years after cutting down the tree that we finally got rid of them. Then we moved. Our neighbor has a golden rain tree, and they also have these bugs, but not as bad.


On Sep 5, 2007, melsalz from Mooresville, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Not sure if these guys are doing any damage yet but they are all over my butterfly weed seed pods. Very prolific.


On Jun 28, 2007, bolino from Toledo, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Found these clustered on a patio fence 6-28-07


On Apr 8, 2007, canai from Lafayette, LA wrote:

These bugs attacked my tomatoes last summer. I didn't harvest even one. They would attack a few green tomatoes at a time sucking all the liquid inside. I tried throwing flour on them which they didn't like , later a microbe liquid which seemed to smother them and lastly moth traps that they were able to free themselves from. I shook the tomatoes and once in the trap I crushed them . There were just to many of them and I lost the battle. 30 years of gardening and I have never encounter these persistant pest. Any ideas?


On Apr 5, 2007, drummer49 from Haines City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

We've had them for years. They do NO DAMAGE, but they are prolific. They love Golden Raintrees. The summer after hurricane Charley, we saw very few, but they're back now. I have yet to find a pesticide that wipes them out, they adapt quickly.


On Mar 30, 2007, IrisLover79 from Westchester, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

We had large numbers of these bugs around last fall & this spring (end of March). They formed clumps (with dozens of bugs) on the compost heap, dead logs, and our garage. They haven't harmed any plants, I just dislike their large numbers because I'm afraid of bugs. I've also heard them referred to as "Halloween bugs," because they are orange & black and are around in the fall.

[I put a similar description in the Large Milkweed Bug file. I mistakenly thought that's what these were, at first. I don't know how to delete that comment, sorry!]



On Sep 1, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

While the adult insects or the nymphs do no real damage to the trees, they do create a mess sometimes with the nymphs drpooing out on to the ground, and unsuspecting bug-squeamish passerbys.

Found throughout the eastern half of North america, the adults generally overwinter under bark and in cracks of buildings.


On Aug 21, 2006, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

This species was previously known as Leptocoris trivittatus