The boxelder bug is a species of "true bugs" (order Hemiptera) common throughout North America. Their name derives from their primary source of food: the seeds of boxelder trees, though they are known to occasionally consume the seeds of maple and ash trees. Female boxelder trees also provide the insects with their primary breeding ground, as they lay their eggs upon its leaves.
Many communities are accustomed to an annual invasion of box elder bugs, but the number of pests showing up this year has been extreme in many areas. Residents and pest control professionals are saying they haven't seen such large populations of the insects in years, and the unusual weather that has been hitting much of the country may be to blame.