Western Boxelder Bugs seem to be having a banner year in western Montana …and as we head into fall they will tend to group up as they look for a protected place to overwinter. Sometimes, that place is a house or building. Like many other true bugs, the wings form a characteristic “X” pattern on their backs …but it’s hard to see from this photo since the bugs pictured here are still nymphs, with short, stubby black wings (see an adult here). These insects primarily feed on the leaves and seeds of boxelder, other maples, and ash trees, using their long “beak” to suck the juices. In spring, you will see similar swarms as they emerge.

Photo by: Lizzie Kozar on 8/14/21 in Columbia Falls, MT