4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705

Boxelder Bug

Boisea trivitatta or Boisea rubrolineata

Boxelder Bug

Life Cycle

Gradual Metamorphosis
After overwintering, the females and males will feed for about two weeks prior to mating.  The female will then lay eggs in cracks and crevices in the tree bark.  The nymphs that hatch are bright red and will complete 5 molts (instars) prior to reaching the adult stage which takes about 60 days.  The adults will have fully developed wing pads and wings.  Two generations will occur from spring to fall.


  • Diet: Sap from female boxelder trees, see, foliage and twigs. Will also feed on maple, pear and ash trees.
  • Activity: Will live in clusters and migrate in large groups that often overwhelm homeowners.
  • Preferred Climate: Warmer temperatures from spring to early fall.
  • Defense: Dark markings on wings
  • Cautions: Some species may stain interior of home with excrement
  • Home Invasion: Will enter homes in fall for shelter for overwintering. Travel in large clusters many times.

Helpful Hints

  • Seal entry points allowing access into the interior of the home.
  • Removal of food source including boxelder trees from the yard.
  • Pesticide application to the south side of the home or fence lines where bugs rest in the fall for warmth.

Interesting Facts

Boxelders will fly as far as 2 miles from their original harborage point.


They are nuisance pests. They do not sting or transmit disease and are generally not known to bite, though there are rare reports of defensive biting.