Find more of my photographs and information similar to that which I post in this blog in my book Naturally Curious, which is being published this fall.
BOX ELDER BUGS
If you make a habit of looking at the base of box elder trees this fall, you may be rewarded with the sight of hundreds of box elder bugs (Boisea trivitatta) congregating prior to hibernating. While these insects feed on a variety of plants, box elder seeds are their food of choice (very little damage is done to the trees). Various developmental stages of box elder bugs can be found at these hibernation sites, including the immature red nymphs as well as the black adults. In addition to gathering at the base of box elders, these bugs also seek shelter inside cracks and crevices of exterior house walls. If these allow access to the inside of a house, the bugs will enter. Even though they are harmless, box elder bugs are considered a household pest by those whose domiciles are invaded – be forewarned that they will stain red and produce a foul odor if squashed. Several successive warm winters has resulted in a high population of these insects.