Box Elder Bug Life Cycle

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Box elder bugs are small, red insects that are common pests in Idaho. They are attracted to box elder trees, but they will also feed on other plants, such as maples and ashes. Box elder bugs have a simple life cycle that consists of three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.


Box elder bugs lay their eggs in the spring. The eggs are small, oval-shaped, and red-brown in color. They are usually laid on the underside of leaves, but they can also be found on bark or other surfaces. The eggs hatch in about 10 days.


Nymphs look like small, wingless versions of the adults. They go through five instars, or stages, as they grow. During each instar, they shed their skin and grow a new one. The nymphs feed on the sap of plants. They typically complete their development in about 30 days.


Adult box elder bugs are about 1/4 inch long and have a flattened, oval shape. They are bright red with black markings. Adults feed on the sap of plants, and they can also produce a foul-smelling odor when they are disturbed. Box elder bugs are active during the day and they typically hide in groups at night.


In the fall, box elder bugs will seek out a place to overwinter. They often congregate in large groups on the south side of buildings or on trees. They may also enter homes in search of a warm place to stay. Box elder bugs remain dormant during the winter and they will emerge in the spring when the weather warms up.


Box elder bugs are not considered to be a serious pest, but they can be a nuisance. There are a number of ways to control box elder bugs, including:
  • Removing box elder trees from your property.
  • Pruning box elder trees to make it difficult for the bugs to get to the sap.
  • Applying a pesticide to the box elder trees.
  • Sealing up any cracks or openings in your home to prevent the bugs from entering.
If you have a box elder bug infestation, it is important to take steps to control the bugs before they become a major problem. Call Protec Pest Control to help with your box elder bug problem.