Nickname: Box Elder Bug, Zug Bug, Maple Bug
Scientific Name: Boisea Trivittata
Appearance/Size: Adults are about 1/2 inch in length. Normally dark brown or black body with orange/red outline; eggs are reddish-brown. Nymphs are mostly red with emerging black.
Prefered Habitat: Warm/Shaded areas. Around man-made structures, Acer tree’s, shrubs etc. They will hibernate under siding where they will nest colonies.
Reproduction: Females will lay as many as 30 eggs, which will hatch in as little as 10-20 days. Incomplete metamorphisis; 3 stages being Egg, Nymph and adult. They undergo 5 instars in the nymph stage. Females will NOT reproduce in overwintering months.
Eat: (Prefered Diet) Acer grandidentatum (Bigtooth Maple), Acer negundo(Box Elder or Maple Ash), Acer saccharinum (Silver Maple, River Maple, or Soft Maple), Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple), and Sapindus saponaria (Soapberry). Although when food is scarce, the Box Elder Bug will eat pretty much any type of vegetation.
Side Notes: Because of the bad taste these creatures will emit, there are not many natural predators for this bug. To treat box elder bugs, first remove any Acer trees in the area. If problems continue, use insecticidal soap everywhere you see them. Spray them directly, the spots they migrated, spots you think they might migrate, and where they lay their nests. The best cure is prevention. Take away their food source and make them want to live somewhere else. These bugs are not considered a threat to agriculture, as they appear to feed on trees mainly from the Acer familiy, or a specific plant called Acer negundo, a type of maple tree native to North America, better known as the “Box Elder Tree”. These at no point have ever been known to fight off other bugs. They will not do reputable damage to an indoor garden, but you should remove them on site. They will eat holes in the foliage of your plants.
The Cure: The first thing you will want to do is locate, and destroy any female Box Elder Tree’s (Acer Family). If that doesn’t work, borax, fossil shell flour, diatomaceous earth and insecticides are the most practical thing to use. If they are already in your home, a vacuum cleaner and some patience is about your best bet. Not many other insects (if any) enjoy killing/eating box elder bugs because of the foul odor they emit. It is important to know that box elder bugs are relentless, and we still don’t have a “cure” for them; so we can only do our best to combat what we can. Their fast, and plentiful reproductive rate is a powerful combination that leaves many homeowners ecstatic.