Boxelder Bug

Boxelder Bug
  • Size: About 1.2 to 1.4 cm long
  • Color: Reddish-brown with light markings
  • Distinctive Feature: Clusters in large numbers, unpleasant odor when crushed
  • Habitat: Trees, particularly boxelders, exterior walls of houses in autumn

Appearance of the Boxelder Bug

The boxelder bug, a common insect in Quebec, is distinguished by several physical characteristics. Adults measure between 1.2 and 1.4 cm in length and display a coloration from brown to reddish. They are known for their wings marked with geometric patterns or distinct lines, giving them a unique appearance. Their body is oval, slightly flattened, and may seem granular. The antennae, composed of multiple segments, are also a key identifier. Although similar to other bug species, their size and coloration aid in distinguishing them.

Habitat of the Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bugs thrive in various natural and urban settings in Quebec. They favor areas with abundant boxelder trees, which are a significant food source. They adapt well to human-altered environments like parks and gardens and are often found near homes, seeking shelter in colder months. They prefer environments with dense vegetation and fallen leaves for cover.

Behavior of the Boxelder Bug

The behavior of boxelder bugs is seasonally influenced. They are active in warm months, feeding on sap and fruits, and are drawn to light, explaining their presence near light sources at night. In autumn, they seek protection from cold, often entering houses or hiding under tree bark. While not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance in large numbers and emit an unpleasant odor when disturbed or crushed.

Boxelder Bug in Montérégie

The boxelder bug is well-documented in Montérégie, Quebec. Frequent sightings occur in cities like Longueuil, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Châteauguay, and Granby, particularly in residential and park areas. The region’s natural spaces and abundance of boxelder trees contribute to their presence, especially during autumn migration periods.

Distinguer les Punaise d’Érable d’Autres Insectes



The ladybug, often appreciated for its bright colors and spotted patterns, can be easily differentiated from the boxelder bug. Ladybugs are generally rounder and smaller, with a range of colors including bright red, orange, or yellow adorned with black spots. In contrast, the boxelder bug has a more elongated, flattened body, and a duller coloration. Moreover, their feeding habits differ greatly: ladybugs primarily feed on aphids, while boxelder bugs prefer tree sap.

Clothes Moths

Clothes Moths

Clothes moths, small insects that attack natural fibers, are distinctly different from boxelder bugs. These moths have a smaller body and narrower wings, often with a distinctive pattern resembling a solid shade or small scales. They are mainly known for their ability to damage clothes and carpets. In contrast, the boxelder bug is larger, with an oval body and shows no interest in textiles.

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