What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat? (Do They Cause Damage?)


What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat? {Do They Cause Damage?}

In the summer and fall, there are swarms of black and orange boxelders bugs all over the place. Since there are so many, you may be wondering if there is a particular food that draws them to your yard. What do boxelder bugs eat, though?

Boxelder bugs consume the fluids and sap of seeds, leaves, and trees. They prefer trees that bear seeds, like boxelder, ash, and silver maples. Boxelder bugs occasionally ingest the liquid from the leaves of fruits and vegetables. Because they are hibernating, boxelder bugs don’t eat during the winter.

Perhaps you’re curious about the various meals that boxelder bugs consume. Perhaps you’ve spotted them assembling in your yard or home and are concerned they’ll cause harm. This article will walk you through every aspect of what boxelder bugs consume.

What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat?

Boxelder bugs are insects that feed on sap. This means that the only foods they eat are the liquids and sap found in plants, foliage, and fruits. The boxelder plant itself is not consumed by the boxelder bugs.

Because of their predilection for the boxelder tree, boxelder bugs are so named. They are drawn to trees that produce seeds, which can be a rich source of food for swarms of box elder bugs.

The boxelder trees will be where the boxelder bugs lay their eggs. As a result, the newborn boxelder nymphs will have a plentiful supply of food when they hatch.

On other trees like ash, silver maple, or fruit trees, you could observe boxelder bugs. On these trees, however, they are unable to complete a life cycle. Therefore, they will always require access to a boxelder tree nearby.

How do boxelder bugs feed?

How do boxelder bugs feed?

A proboscis, which is a long, sucking mouth like that of mosquitos, is a feature of boxelder bugs.

They will only cut through the skin of plants, fruit, or seeds with their mouth. Suck the sap or liquids within after that. Consider how you would pierce a juice bag with a straw before drinking.

The boxelder bugs require the sweet, nutrient-rich, and hydrating sap to fly, mate, and lay eggs.

Do Boxelder bugs eat insects?

It is impossible for boxelder bugs to consume other smaller insects because they lack any kind of chewing mouth, stinger, or pincers. Their mouths are limited to piercing objects and consuming liquids.

Boxelder bugs won’t consume any insects, such as:

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Spiders
  • Ants
  • Mites
  • Ladybugs
  • Additional Boxelder pests

An insect or mammal won’t be bitten by a boxelder bug unless they are in danger. This piercing action is being used in self-defense to harm the aggressor.

Boxelder bugs will be eaten by other bugs that hunt them. The boxelder bugs exude a foul smell and flavor as a form of defense. Once the animal is dead, this occurs to prevent other animals and insects from consuming more.

Do Boxelder Bugs Eat Plants?

Boxelder bugs may be regarded as pest insects since they feed on plant foliage. Boxelder bugs rarely harm plants, even when they are in swarms.

Only the liquids inside the plant are consumed by the boxelder bugs, not the actual plant. They may, at best, result in minor bruising, leaf curling, or surface discoloration.

Boxelder bugs won’t harm any crops or plants, so gardeners shouldn’t worry too much about them.

Do Boxelder bugs eat Fruit?

Fruit may contain boxelder bugs. They only consume the internal fruit juices, not the fruit itself.

Boxelder bugs are frequently observed on softer fruits like:

  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Pears

The fruit will sustain surface-level damage from the boxelder bugs. The fruit peel has tiny holes if you look at it closely. The boxelder bug has punctured the surface here with its mouth.

Boxelder bugs are another problem since they can dry up the plants and fruits, resulting in an early fruit drop. If your fruit trees are being attacked by a sizable swarm of boxelder bugs, this is more likely to occur.

Boxelder bugs may prefer to eat the plant’s foliage rather than the fruit. Soft fruits like tomatoes or strawberries are more typical for this.

Do Boxelder bugs eat Vegetables?

Boxelder bugs are not known to eat vegetables; instead, they favor sweet liquids like sap. On your vegetable plants’ foliage, though, you might find them. It’s probably more about eating the plant’s leaves than the actual vegetable. Boxelder bugs may just be taking a nap in a warm, sunny location since they also enjoy the sun.

Boxelder bugs can be seen on the leaves of sun-loving vegetable plants like:

  • Yummy potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Sping squash
  • Geneva chard
  • Okra
  • bean greens
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers

Do Boxelder bugs eat flowers?

Flowers are not eaten by boxelder bugs. They might attempt to sip nectar from flowers that produce it, though. This would only typically occur if the Boxelder bugs had little access to food.

By remaining close to the trees they prefer to eat from, they make an effort to avoid this.

What do boxelder bugs eat in winter?

Over the winter, boxelder bugs enter a condition of hibernation. In the winter, they therefore don’t eat anything.

Boxelder bugs enter a dormant state when they hibernate, according to the term. This entails a total shutdown of their body so that it can function without using any energy.

Boxelder bugs will try to find a warm, safe spot to hide during this period, such as behind rocks, in vegetation, or inside buildings.

What do boxelder bugs drink?

Boxelder bugs will sip the liquids they suck out of the plants to stay hydrated. They do not need to look for additional freshwater sources.

Boxelder bugs consume plant juices that are rich in nutrients. This ensures their survival and growth.

What do Box Elder bugs eat in my home?

Over the winter, a boxelder bug can be discovered in your house. They won’t be eating anything and will be in a condition of hibernation.

If during the summer you come across a boxelder bug in your house. Not to worry. Boxelder bugs won’t harm your home or possessions. It probably happened to wander onto your property. Rather, they are probably trying to find a location to stay warm or hibernate over the winter.

Your home’s wood and clothes won’t be eaten by boxelder pests. Simply put, they lack the proper lips to consume these elements.

What do boxelder bugs hate?

You can utilize a few plants in your yard to prevent boxelder bugs from resting or tying themselves to the feed.

The following plants provide the best results:

  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Clove

They probably won’t stop coming totally despite these plants. However, they will make it difficult for the boxelder bugs to persist. In small numbers, boxelder bugs are not very terrible, but big swarms are what really annoy humans. Growing these plants next to a boxelder bug food source might assist to lessen swarms.

What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat?

Final thoughts

As you’ll see, boxelder bogs are primarily sap-consumers. This indicates that they will only consume liquids from fruits, leaves, and trees.

Even though they are numerous, they cause little harm to the plants, fruits, or vegetables in your yards. You won’t have to worry about them ruining your displays or crops if you’re an avid gardener, then.

In the summer and fall, you’ll probably notice a lot of boxelder bugs if a nearby boxelder, maple, or ash tree. Planting lavender, clove, or sage can help control huge swarms by reducing their population.


How long do boxelder bugs live in a house?

1 year roughly

Should I worry about Boxelder bugs?

Boxelder bugs prefer warm environments, and they are drawn to structures that receive a lot of southern or western exposure. Although they often don’t harm property, they could discolor surfaces. The only viable method of control once they are inside is physical removal. They do not consistently pose a major threat.

Why are Boxelder bugs attracted to my house?

Cooler temperatures and warm, sunny side dwellings are both attractive to box elder bugs. To enter buildings, they congregate in warm spots on siding and roofs. They hibernate within during the fall and winter.

What do Boxelder bugs eat in the house?

Boxelder bugs are not known to eat vegetables; instead, they favor sweet liquids like sap. On your vegetable plants’ foliage, though, you might find them. It’s probably more about eating the plant’s leaves than the actual vegetable. Boxelder bugs may just be taking a nap in a warm, sunny location since they also enjoy the sun.

Are box elder bugs destructive?

It is not known that boxelder bugs seriously harm plants or cause major damage to homes. Their waste, however, can discolor light-colored surfaces. A bad smell may also be released when you smash them. They are frequently discovered in residences and on buildings’ sunny exterior surfaces.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author