Boxelder Bugs eating Salvia?

Lisa_H OK(7)May 18, 2005

A friend of mine appears to have a nest of boxelder bugs in her front flower bed. The quick research I have done says they don't eat plants, but these appear to be absolutely devouring four plants of May Night Salvia.

Has anyone had any experience with this? Two applications of bug killer seems to have no effect on them, do we need to dig out the flower bed?


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I hate boxelder bugs! I cut down two Goldenrain Trees just to get rid of billions and billions of boxelder bugs that lived in those trees. Once the Goldenrain Trees were removed ... no more boxelder bugs!

I have May Night Salvia, and they do not have any boxelder bug problem at all. Are there any boxelder trees or goldenrain trees nearby?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 11:50PM
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True bugs have sucking mouthparts. Even if a bug (stinkbugs, squash bugs, etc. are other true bugs) were feeding on the leaves, the leaves would simply look distorted, lose their color, get spots, etc. They wouldn't look chewed.

Your firend needs to look for a chewing pest. Earwigs, slugs, snails, and caterpillars can make chewing damage. Around here, I'd bet on it being earwig damage, but I don't know about where you live.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 10:13AM
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What lunita said is true. Even though there were millions of boxelder bugs living in my Goldenrain Trees, they did not chew on the leaves. So I don't think Boxelder bugs would chew on your salvia leaves. They can be a major nuisance, but they never did any plant damage in my yard.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 1:05AM
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rhetrx(z7 MD)

I've always found the boxelder bugs crawling through the leaf litter below my highbush blueberry shrubs.... but I have a golden rain tree, and it throws many seedlings... So the bugs and the _trees_ are related, not the blueberries?

Boxelder bugs also seem to like offices. The employees are not pleased about this...


    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 2:23PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Thank you everyone for your help. I really appreciate it. Apparently there is a boxelder tree in the neighborhood. Another neighbor has complained about all the boxelder bugs in her yard too. I didn't realize they didn't eat other plants. I will look at my friend's plants again more closely and see if I see any other pests. Something is definitely eating these plants.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 11:16AM
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It's not that they don't eat other plants, they just don't EAT plants, period. They can't because their mouths don't do that. It's just a function of bug anatomy. True bugs have mouths like straws. They puncture plants and suck the juices out of them. This causes yellowing, distortion, loss of vigor, spots sometimes (stinkbugs make hard spots on tomatoes, for example), and can spread disease. They aren't physically capable of making the chewing damage that you are seeing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 2:08PM
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Rh, yes, Goldenrain trees and boxelder bugs go hand in hand. At first you just see them around the tree. Then, as they multiply you see them sunning themselves on nearby buildings walls. Then, as they continue to multiply, they will make it into the inside of the building. Been there, done that, NEVER going back.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 9:20AM
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I have a real big heart when it comes to bugs. I had recently come across a boxelder bug on my living room floor and saved him from his untimely doom. I was playing a game with my son while letting the bug crawl on my hand. I started to feel a burning sensation on the tip of my finger. When I looked down to my surprise, it seemed as if the bug was biting me.When I looked to see what it was biting me with, I saw the long tube that folds under their body stuck in my finger. I was wondering if this is a rare occurrence or if the bug mistaked me for a meal.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 1:12AM
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