Random Insect: Boxelder bugs

Eastern boxelder bug nymphs (Boisea trivittata, Rhopalidae) photographed 09/12/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

Eastern boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata, Rhopalidae) are usually only noticed by people in the fall, when the bugs seek shelter inside buildings.  Throughout the summer these bugs feed on maple trees, especially boxelder (Acer negundo, Aceraceae).  This tree has little commercial value, so these bugs aren’t considered pests.

Eastern boxelder bug nymphs (Boisea trivittata, Rhopalidae) photographed 09/12/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

These insects are hemimetabolous, meaning they don’t go through a complete metamorphosis in a pupa from a larval form to an adult form.  Instead the immature instars resemble smaller, wingless adults, becoming larger and more adult-like with each molt.  The nymphs live much like the adults, feeding on primarily boxelder trees.  They ultimately molt into their adult form, and it is in this stage that they often seek winter shelter inside human habitations.

Eastern boxelder bug adult (Boisea trivittata, Rhopalidae) photographed 09/12/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

Boxelder bugs are harmless to humans.  They aren’t considered pests and don’t bite.  Although they can be unsightly as they gather to seek winter shelter, they will just as happily leave again in the spring.  Like people, they just want a relatively warm place to survive the winter.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Random Insect: Boxelder bugs

  1. Pingback: Random Insect: Boxelder bug revisited | The Life of Your Time

  2. Pingback: Random Plant: Boxelder | The Life of Your Time

  3. Pingback: Plant-Insect Interaction: Caterpillar on a boxelder | The Life of Your Time

  4. Pingback: Random Insect: Bouncing baby boxelder bugs | The Life of Your Time

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