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Box Elder Bugs

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Whether you knew what you were looking at or not, you probably knew you had laid eyes on something magnificent when spotting the box elder bug. As common and as big of a nuisance as they are, they are quite mesmerizing to look at. They might only be about ½ inch long, but it is their flat wings coupled with their mesmerizing color patterns that make them so unique. They have flat wings that lay against their backs and are outlined with orange or red markings. They have a black underlying coat that meshes nicely with the orange or black.

Upon glancing at these bugs, it’s almost as if you are looking at a tribal tribute. All of this combined with the three stripes behind their heads, and you don’t have to be an entomologist to know you are looking at something unique and great. The nymphs only grow to 1/16th of an inch but emit a bright red presence when first hatched. As they grow older, they’ll go through several transformative stages until fully mature. This will be when they turn black and red or potentially orange. If you watch the bugs closely enough, you can actually watch them transform right before your very eyes.

Of course, if you are like most people, you don’t want the bugs in the home that long. You likely want them gone at first sight, and that is exactly what we are here to help you accomplish.

Box Elder Bug Management

Boxelder bugs aren’t particularly harmful, which is a huge plus. They usually just end up buzzing around the property, but this doesn’t make them any less of a nuisance. There are several ways you can go about minimizing the effects they have on you and your family. The best and the first place you’ll want to start is outside. After all, this is how they are getting onto the property. Repair or replace any damaged window and door screening. Replace screens for your soffit vents and the bathroom and kitchen fans. Any place where utility cables or vents penetrate the home will need to be properly sealed.

Cracks and crevices in the foundation will need to be sealed as well. Caulking or polyurethane expandable spray foam is a good option. Copper mesh or metal grating also works nicely in specific areas. Door sweeps on the exterior of the doors can deter bugs from entering under the doors. While this is a good start and will work wonders, it will probably, unfortunately, not be enough to eliminate the threat of box elder bugs. This is, once again, where we can help.

Understanding The Lifecycle

Understanding the lifecycle of the box elder bug is as good a place to start as any. In the spring, box elder bugs start emerging from their hibernating spots. Adults can commonly be found feeding on seeds and other vegetation during this time. After feeding for a few weeks, they’ll begin the mating process. This usually ends up taking place during the late spring and early summer. By the time mid-July arrives, these bugs will have begun a pilgrimage, seeking box elder, ash, or maple trees.

While they consume the seeds and leaves of the following trees for sustenance, they will also use the trunks, branches, and leaves to lay their eggs. When the population reaches an acceptable limit, you’ll likely see the nymphs around your bushes and in your mulch. The fall will end the pilgrimage, and this will be when the bugs start venturing back towards their hibernation spots. Some of these bugs will end up traveling only a few hundred yards away, while some can travel as far as two miles.

As it just so happens, these bugs like to hibernate in your walls, so this is something you’ll want to jump on as soon as possible. As soon as you suspect an infestation, get our office on the phone. We’ll get someone out to the property immediately!

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Box Elder Bug