These insects primarily feed on the leaves and seeds of box-elder, maple, and ash trees, using their long “beak” to suck the juices. Western Box Elders are “true bugs” –members of the order Hemiptera. Like many other true bugs, the wings of box elders form a characteristic “X” pattern on their backs. You may have seen large groups of them last fall, when the weather was cooling down and they were getting ready to hibernate.
Photo by Glenn Marangelo on 3/22/20 in Missoula, MT