Are Boxelder Bugs the Same as Stink Bugs?

Boxelder bugs and stink bugs are two insects that can be easily confused due to their similar appearance and behaviour. However, they are not the same species and have some distinct differences that set them apart from each other.

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What are boxelder bugs?

Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) are commonly found in North America, particularly in the eastern and western regions. Boxelder bugs are often seen coming together in large numbers on trees, bushes, and buildings during the fall season. Boxelder bugs have a black body with red markings on their wings and thorax, the middle part of their bodies. Boxelder bugs are not harmful to humans, pets, or plants, but they can be a nuisance when they invade homes and other structures seeking warmth during the cooler months.

What are stink bugs 

On the other hand, stink bugs (Pentatomidae) are a family of insects that make up roughly over 200 species globally. They are found in various habitats, including forests, gardens, and agricultural fields. Stink bugs are also known for their tendency to invade homes and other structures during the fall season. They have a shield-shaped body that is usually brown or green, and they emit a pungent odour when disturbed or crushed. Unlike boxelder bugs, stink bugs can be harmful to crops, causing significant damage to fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants.

The differences between boxelder bugs and stink bugs

One of the most significant differences between boxelder bugs and stink bugs is their feeding behaviour. Boxelder bugs feed primarily on the seeds, flowers, and leaves of boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees. They may also feed on other plants, but they do not cause significant damage. In contrast, stink bugs are known to be voracious feeders and can damage a wide range of crops, including tomatoes, peppers, apples, and peaches.

Breeding habits of boxelder bugs and stink bugs

Another difference between these two insects is their breeding habits. Boxelder bugs lay their eggs on the leaves or bark of trees during the summer months. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which feed on plant sap and moult several times before reaching adulthood. Stink bugs also lay their eggs on plants, but their nymphs feed on a wide range of plants and undergo several moults before reaching adulthood.

Finally, boxelder bugs and stink bugs also differ in their distribution. While boxelder bugs are found primarily in North America, stink bugs are found worldwide, with the exception of Antarctica.

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