Box Elder Bugs

What are box elder bugs?

Box elder bugs are a true insect found all across the United States and all the way into Canada. These small bugs grow no larger than about 1/2 an inch as adults. They have long, oval-shaped bodies with distinct color patterns. Their overall body color is a dark brown to black, with bright orange outlining their wings. Box elder bug nymphs or immature box elder bugs have similar coloring to the adults but are smaller.

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Are box elder bugs dangerous?

Box elder bugs are not known to be dangerous to humans. While they do have the ability to bite, they rarely do. A bite from a box elder bug has been compared to a mosquito bite. While itchy, their bite is not dangerous. When considering the health of your lawn, it's never good to have an overabundance of insects. In large numbers, box elder bugs may damage plants such as box elder trees. For the most part, though, seeing excess numbers of bugs is simply disturbing to homeowners.

Why do I have a box elder bug problem?

Box elder bugs are seasonal pests that are most active in the spring and fall. During spring, newly-matured insects strike out across lawns looking for food. Most commonly, they attack box elder trees, maples, and shrubs. As the weather begins to cool at the end of summer and into early fall, the bugs begin trying to find places to overwinter. If you thought you had seen a lot of them over the summer, prepare to see more now. Box elder bugs try to squeeze their way into garages and homes through small cracks. Any gaps in screens or broken weather stripping may serve as an access point for these insects.

Where will I find box elder bugs?

In the wild, or around your lawn, look in shrubs and trees. As their name suggests, box elder bugs are especially drawn to box elder trees. Within your home, look for tight spaces in which these bugs can hide. Consider looking along baseboards, cracks in walls, and vents. These insects are also small enough to hide in electrical boxes and behind outlet covers. As these insects are looking for warm spaces to hunker down, inspect the insides of light fixtures and heating ducts.

How do I get rid of box elder bugs?

As a temporary solution, many people have used vacuum cleaners to remove these pests from their home. After vacuuming, be sure to seal the bag and remove it from your house to avoid escapees. Note that this is not a permanent solution, as there will always be more insects than you can see out in the open. We don't recommend trying to eliminate these insects without the help of a professional. Improper sanitation after an insecticide is used can result in secondary infestations. The rotting bodies of the dead insects may attract larger cleanup bugs, such as beetles. A professional pest control company such as RAM Wildlife & Pest Management will eradicate the insects and sanitize your home. Contact us at RAM to learn more about our professional pest control solutions.

How can I prevent box elder bug problems in the future?

To keep most small insect invaders out, including box elder bugs, inspect the exterior of your home. What you're looking for are any small gaps or cracks that insects can use to get inside. Be sure to check and repair window screens, ventilation covers, and weather stripping. Any gaps that are identified should be filled with a silicone sealant. Remember to be especially vigilant in the fall, as this is when bugs start migrating inside.

 

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