Can you help identify this insect for me?

Asked September 28, 2018, 8:08 PM EDT

I am attaching a photo of some insects that are currently swarming all over two live Douglas-fir trees in my front yard. I am concerned that they may have infested these trees and caused serious damage which may add to the stress these two trees have experienced over the past 20 or 30 years (topping, excessive trimming, and drought). Could you please help me identify this insect? I would also appreciate any advice as to where to find a reliable arborist or other professional who could assess the health of these trees as both are within 15 feet of my home and I am concerned that a big storm could cause large limbs to fall or worse. Thank you for your assistance in this regard. Sincerely, Jan Shoemaker

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

The insect is the Western box elder bug, Boisea rubrolineata. They feed on the seeds of box elders and other maples. In the fall, they congregate on trees and light-colored structures. They will not damage your conifers.

On-site evaluations are required to determine if a tree is a potentially hazardous. It's wise to invite at least 3 Certified Arborists to your property to look at the trees, their structure, general health, and surroundings.

You can locate nearby Certified Arborists by searching with your zipcode at

Certified Arborists must pass a test and acquire continuing education. Some of these professionals hold an advanced certificate which qualifies them to evaluate potentially dangerous trees.

Some will have a fee for the evaluation, others won't. To avoid unwelcome surprises when they visit, ask when you first contact them.