Adult boxelder bugs are 1/2 inches long. They are brown-black in color with three red stripes on the thorax and red veins in the wings. They are some times referred as beetles but are really “true bugs”. The nymphs are smaller and are bright red.
They are fond of feeding on the leaves, twigs, and seeds of female boxelder trees. They will also feed on maple, ash and the young fruit of grapes, apples and plums.
The adults hibernate in dry protected locations. They
emerge in the spring and lay small, red eggs in the cracks and crevices in the bark of boxelder trees. The nymphs hatch about the time the new leaves appear. The young feed on the juices of the leaves and twigs. They go through five molts before becoming adults.
Boxelder bugs do little damage to the tree but are a nuisance around the homes when they attempt to enter to find hibernation sites. They can stain drapes and sheers with their droppings. They can bite but hardly ever do. When they are crushed they let out a strong disagreeable odor.
Leptocoris trivittatus Say