Summer bring warm, sunny weather and the height of the growing season, but that’s not all — it’s also the height of pest season. Most people think of fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks when they think of summer pests, but boxelder bugs can wreak their own kind of havoc.
What Are Boxelder Bugs?
Found across Canada and the United States, these insects are chiefly a pest of boxelder trees. They are roughly a half inch long, with a dark carapace marked with red or orange. Adults have the brightest markings with the most contrast. During the beginning and height of summer, boxelder bugs are mostly found sucking the juices of boxelder trees. During late summer and early autumn, they begin trying to seek warm winter shelter.
Boxelder Bugs in Your Home
As weather begins to cool in late summer, these insects begin to look for places to overwinter. Isolated buildings on flat ground with a lot of southern or western sun exposure are an almost ideal environment for them. Boxelder bugs seek out nooks and crannies in and around buildings to hole up in. They’re largely dormant during winter, but mild, warm days and the beginning of spring cause them to wake up and further infiltrate living areas, looking for a place to escape back into the wild to feed. While they don’t damage or reproduce in homes, large numbers of trapped boxelder bugs can become a serious nuisance.
Prevent Boxelder Bugs from Moving In
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this is no different. Investigate building exteriors for cracks or spaces that might attract bugs seeking to hibernate. Patch cracks, seal off openings, replace torn or bend window screens, and treat exterior walls with a long-acting insecticide to keep insects away.
Skip the Bug Spray
Many homeowners’ first inclination is to reach for the bug spray when they seek these pests in their living spaces. Unfortunately, this generally isn’t effective. Treating the interior of a home won’t stop boxelder bugs from sneaking indoors and will only kill the insects once they encounter it. Most commercial insecticides are also dangerous for children, pets, the elderly, and pregnant people, so they are more of a hazard than they are a help.
Rather than relying on incidental contact with a pesticide, vacuum often. This is the easiest way to catch and remove boxelder bugs from the interior of a home, and doesn’t carry the same risks as commercial pest sprays. Dispose of the vacuum bag or empty the cup outside, to avoid allowing these pests back into the building. While effective, this method is time consuming and may not be suitable for large numbers of insects.
Call a Professional
Professional pest control services have access to tools and techniques that the average layperson doesn’t. Their insecticides are formulated to be as safe and effective as possible, and they have methods of application that are far more effective than a conventional spray. Professionals are also capable of identifying pest species, and figuring out where they’ve come from. If you live in an area prone to boxelder bug infestation, like Utah county, it’s a good idea to contact a pest control technician to ensure that your problem is handled as cleanly and completely as possible.
Boxelder bugs aren’t welcome guests, and you don’t have to live with them. By making your home’s exterior inhospitable for them, vacuuming thoroughly, and getting the help of a professional pest control service, you can keep your home free of these pests. Contact Summit Lawn & Pest Control today at (801) 788-4286 to get a quote and discuss the best pest control options for your home.