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The Boxelder bug, Leptocorouos trivittatis, is a true bug, of the order Hemiptera, which means half-winged. Most Hemiptera are "good bugs" that is, predators such as Aquatic Bugs, Damsel Bugs, Ambush Bugs, Assassin Bugs, etc. The boxelder bugs are sort of in the middle. They do very little damage to the trees they attack, but at certain times of the year they can become a nuisance. Boxelder bugs develop by gradual metamorphosis, from egg, to nymph, then to adult.

Boxelder bugs overwinter as adults in protected places such as houses and other buildings, cracks or crevices in walls, doors, under windows and around foundations, particularly on south and west exposures. They can come out even during the dead of winter when it is cold outside and the sun is shining. In the spring, when the boxelder buds start to open, small red eggs are laid on leaves and stones and in cracks and crevices in the bark of female boxelder trees. The eggs later hatch into the young nymphs that are wingless and bright red in color with some black markings. These young bugs usually congregate on low vegetation near boxelder trees until seeds are formed on the tree, which they then start to feed on. Most of the problem is because, here in the Northeast at least, we have had a succession of warm winters. Anytime this happens, there is a good chance that boxelder bug populations will be at an all-time high. If we continue to have warm winters, we will continue to have large numbers of these insects. Of course, this actually applies to almost all animals, insects and wildlife. Winter always offers us a respite, so pray for the cold weather!
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