What are boxelder bugs?
Boxelder bugs are a type of true bug, and belong in the same family as other insects with piercing, sucking mouthparts used to feed on the juices they extract from plants. Like stink bugs that are in the same family, boxelder bugs create an unpleasant odor when crushed. A boxelder bug has a black body, with the wings and thorax outlined in a noticeable orange-red color. Their black and orange color pattern is why they are often called Halloween bugs. Nymphs look similar to the adults but are bright red.
Are boxelder bugs dangerous?
When large populations of boxelder bugs feed on the liquids of leaves, stems, and flowers of a plant, they damage and distort the plant and create unsightly markings. When boxelder bugs move into our homes and travel over our furniture, walls, and curtains searching for a hiding spot, they can stain them with their excrement. Boxelder bugs are mainly considered nuisance pests, they don’t cause significant damage to structures, and they aren’t a health concern for people.
Why do I have a boxelder bug problem?
Boxelder bugs are attracted to the warm, sunny exterior of buildings in the late fall and early winter and can become a problem on any property. They are most problematic on properties with box elder trees, maple trees, ash trees, and fruit trees like plum trees, apple trees, and cherry trees. After boxelder bugs find their way onto the exterior of a home or other building, they crawl up the walls and move inside through small cracks and other openings they discover.
Where will I find boxelder bugs?
Outside, boxelder bugs live in garden areas and on trees. When these pests move indoors to overwinter, they move to areas of a home that are quiet, dark, and usually hard to access. Some of the most common places these insects gather in our homes include attics, wall voids, crawlspaces, and under floors.
When inside our homes, they do not breed; boxelder bugs only come inside for a safe, temperature-controlled place to spend the winter. In the spring, when the weather warms back up, they move back outdoors.
How do I get rid of boxelder bugs?
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How can I prevent boxelder bugs in the future?
Keeping boxelder bugs from finding their way into your home is difficult. Boxelder bugs will exploit any opening they discover to find a warm spot to overwinter. The best way to avoid boxelder bugs problems is to partner with a professional, implement routine pest control services, and eliminate the things from your property that attract them:
- Cut back trees, especially box elder trees, away from your home.
- Seal entry openings you find in the foundation, exterior walls, and along the roofline of your home.
- Place covers over vents leading into your home and seal spaces around utilities.
- Put weatherstripping around all exterior windows and doors.
- Place door sweeps on exterior doors, basement doors, and garage doors.
- Make sure that window and door screens fit properly and are intact.
- If you spot boxelder bugs in your home, use a vacuum to remove them.
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