Boxelder Bugs: A Crash Course
Here they come. Yet another pest is trying to use your home for free room and board all winter. Kick the freeloaders to the curb! Start with the boxelder bugs.
Often seen outdoors in the spring and summer, this little nuisance is commonly seen indoors in the fall. Cooler temperatures send them in search of temperate places to over-winter. The adults are about ½ inch long and dark with red or orange markings. There are usually three stripes just behind the head and their wings form an “X” over their backs.
One of the mysteries of this pest is that it seems to infest one home while leaving another completely untouched, even if it’s right next door. Science may have the answer to that mystery however. It is believed that the amount of southern exposure a home has will influence a boxelder bug infestation.
Boxelder bugs like to be warm. The love a sunny windowsill protected from the harsh elements outside just like you do. So the more sunlight and warmth you have, the more likely it is that you’ll have boxelder bugs. They also like it to be dry. A hot, dry summer followed by a warm spring is heaven for these pests.
The good news is that the boxelder bug doesn’t usually breed inside. (It prefers the freedom of the great outdoors for that!) The bad news is that they tend to swarm in the spring. If you’ve never had a swarm of insects inside your home, count yourself as having been quite lucky indeed! It’s a highly disturbing sight. But all in all, that’s the worst that can be said about them. They don’t bite or sting and they aren’t known to carry disease.
Prevention and IPM methods are the best way to treat for this pest. Caulk cracks around windows and replace the worn weather stripping on your doors. Seal the places where cable and vent attach into your home from outside. Check the outside for cracking where a boxelder bug (not to mention water) will hide.
If you have enough bugs to warrant calling in reinforcements, then you can reach for the pesticides. Any mild, commercial available product will do but be sure to open a window for good ventilation. Have you IPM pro inspect the outside for cracks and crevices that make good hiding pots for boxelder bugs love so well.
What do you think of boxelder bugs? Are they a seasonal struggle or barely a blip on your radar?