Ann, thank you and good morning! Firstly I should have mentioned in my post, that the Box Elder bug, is more commonly known as the Maple bug in North America. Insects always have three body parts and six legs, and usually 4 wings and antennae. There are bugs, and “true bugs”, true bugs have a mouth shaped like a straw to suck juices, mostly from plants.
Bugs and insects aren’t necessarily the same thing. The 2 words are used interchangeably, but the difference between the terms is more than just semantics. All bugs are insects, but under the technical definition, not all insects are bugs. “True bugs”, belong to a different order. True bugs include stink bugs, bed bugs, even cicadas. Some insects have bug in their name, like ladybug, and Junebug, they are both beetles. The Hempitera order, is where the bugs live. Bugs are types of insects with certain defining characteristics: 1) They have a mouth shaped like a straw, called a stylet, that’s used to suck up juices from plants or blood from other insects or animals. 2) They have no teeth. 3) They have some weird stuff going on with their wings: their front wings are thickened and colored where they attach to the body and taper out towards the back end of the wing, and their hind wings are usually clear and tucked under the front wings. Some example of true bugs include beetles, stink bugs, and cicadas. I touch only the surface of the wonderful world of insects. My knowledge is quite limited compared to others. Their world is far more complex, and fascinating.
My explanations are in layman’s terms.
As for the Box Elder Bug, they are in the scentless plant bug category (Rhopalidae), because they don’t have the stink glands possessed by most other “true bugs”.