Boxelder bugs are not noticed during the summer, but they may present a problem during the fall when they begin searching for a warm place to survive the winter. They are named for their primary host, the boxelder tree. Sometimes, they even do damage to peach, apple, and plum trees. But as a cold weather approaches, they seek and enter houses in colonies of thousands. They find shelters in basements, but they occasionally emerge into living rooms and kitchens. Here are some important facts about boxelder bugs!
Boxelder Bug Identification
Adult boxelder bugs are about half an inch long and they are easily recognized because their black bodies are marked by red lines along the thorax and sides. Their wings are flat over the bodies, overlapping each other. The nymphs are bright red when they hatch, but darken as they grow older.
Boxelder Bug Behavior & Habits
These pests usually don’t nest indoors year-round. Their homes during the warmer season are boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees. They feed on soft parts of trees, including leaves and flowers. Adults also feed on low vegetation and seeds on the ground. They use their sucking mouthparts to eat, but they don’t bite people.
Throughout the fall and winter, boxelder bugs need to find a warm shelter in order to hibernate during the winter. They don’t cause major damage to homes, but they nest in walls and their droppings leave stains on furniture and walls. If you want to keep your home safe, you should prevent boxelder bugs from entering in the first place.
Boxelder Bug Reproduction
Adults begin the mating process just a couple of weeks after they begin feeding. In mid-July, they move to trees where they can lay eggs on branches and leaves. Usually, they are found on female boxelder trees. The oval-shaped eggs of boxelder bugs are brown in color, which allows them to stay hidden among the tree bark and branches. The eggs only need a few days to hatch and they become bright red nymphs. During the summer months, these nymphs go through a metamorphosis before they become an adult. They like to hang out in or on places with the direct sunlight, which is why they can often be seen in large numbers sunning themselves on surfaces that receive lots of sunlight.
Effects of a Boxelder Bug Infestation
Like many other pests, the most common sign of a boxelder bug infestation is seeing these bugs wandering around inside your house. When they start reproducing, it’s often recommended to remove their host tree. Sometimes, it’s not that easy to notice them, which makes them so undesirable. If you have trees that are usually hosts for boxelder bugs, inspect them to prevent these bugs from overwintering in your home.
How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs
The best way to get rid of boxelder bugs is to prevent them. Make sure to repair damaged windows, check for cracks and crevices and seal them, and seal holes and gaps around places where cables or plumbing enters the building. An entire colony can move inside your home if given adequate entry, and if that happens, the best way to get rid of them is to call a professional.
Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of boxelder bugs and use that knowledge when developing a boxelder bug control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.