Although the boxelder bug is viewed mainly as a nuisance insect and does not cause any major harm to homes, a major infestation can be annoying. These brownish-black flying insects are around 12 millimeters long and often congregate around potential hibernation spots in the fall. There are a number of steps you can take to make sure that their over-wintering haven isn’t your home.
Homeowners often become aware that they have a boxelder bug problem in autumn when the spring-hatching nymphs have reached adulthood and gather in large numbers on the sunny south side of trees, fences, rocks and the sides of houses. With cold weather coming, they will be looking for a warm hibernation site, which unfortunately may be the living areas of your home. Infestations may range from a few insects to thousands.
Seal Your Home
The easiest way to keep these annoying insects out of your home is by preventing entry, a process called mechanical exclusion. Seal up cracks around windows and doors, in siding, and around chimneys with a high quality silicone caulk. Repair and replace screens on windows and doors and check around the foundation for cracks. Although sealing may not work perfectly, it will at least reduce entry points and the amount of bugs that can get in.
Get Rid of Hiding Places
Boxelder bugs may hide near your home in piles of debris, rocks, leaves or any other warm shelter, so it’s a good idea to rid the area around your foundation of any tempting nesting spots. Rake up leaves and garden debris and remove weeds from an area around six to nine feet wide around your home, particularly on the sunnier south and west sides. This way, bugs won’t congregate near the foundation hoping to find a way inside.
Boxelder bugs can be drowned, so if you do spot them on your trees or walls, you can hose them off with a strong stream of water. Additionally, if you see a big congregation, you can spray them with a homemade solution of two parts water to one part dish soap, reapplying as needed.
You may notice these insects most often on box elder trees as well as maple, ash and some fruit-bearing species. Some homeowners have found it helpful to remove host trees from areas near the house, but the bugs may still fly in from elsewhere. Research has shown that the bugs prefer the female box elder, so it’s best to plant only male box elder trees around the home.
If these measures fail to rid your home of a pesky boxelder bug invasion, call a skilled pest control professional. Contact Clegg’s online or at 888-672-5344 for a customized solution for your boxelder bug problem.
Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxelder_bug