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boxelder bug on wood

When box elder bugs appear in a yard or start crawling on vegetation and congregating on the exterior walls of a home, it can have a homeowner scratching their head, wondering what bug they're dealing with. While these are common pests, with clear markings and coloration, they can be mistaken for other bugs. One bug they get confused with is Triatomine bugs (also known as the kissing bug, which you may know is linked to the Chagas disease.) To make matters worse, the kissing bug can now be found in Missouri.


Box elder bugs are smaller than kissing bugs. An adult kissing bug will range in size from ½ an inch to over an inch. Box elder bugs will be about ½ an inch.

Another clear difference you'll notice is that box elder bugs have red eyes. While small, they can be seen if you look closely, especially with a magnifying glass.

Usually kissing bugs will be all black. Box elder bugs have a bright orange trim around their black coloration.

While both of these bugs are oval, box elder bugs are an overall oval shape. Kissing bugs are oval in the abdomen but their thorax and head give them a conical shape toward the front.

Box Elder Bug Problems

You don't have too much to fear from box elder bugs. Besides having the ability to stain your belongings with their feces, and drive you crazy by their presence, they're harmless insects.


In the fall, box elder bugs begin to congregate on the sunny sides of homes. When they do, they can accidentally get inside. The best way to prevent this is to have a pest professional apply a treatment to your outside walls and perimeter. While you can have some success keeping box elder bugs out by sealing gaps, cracks, and holes in your foundation and exterior walls, these bugs have a way of finding the tiniest holes you've missed.

Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions is a pest control leader. You can trust our team of licensed and educated professional when it comes to excluding overwintering pests like the box elder bug. We provide comprehensive services, from routine treatments to pest control insulation, for effective management of all the pests we deal with in Missouri. If you need assistance, you can contact us right here through our Contact Page, and we'll send a friendly knowledgeable pest control professional right to your home.

Tags: boxelder bugs  |  residential pest control

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