Boxelder bugs are considered a nuisance pest: while they are harmless, an infestation in your home is a messy, smelly annoyance. They get their name from the boxelder trees where they feed, live, and reproduce. But come winter, these pests are known to seek warmer places to hibernate, sometimes flying up to two miles if necessary to find a cozy home like yours in which to camp out
Boxelder Bug Home Infestation
It starts like this: you might spot a large group of boxelder bugs sunning themselves on the side of your home in autumn, usually near their host tree. The adults are primarily black with red or orange markings. Their long, thin oval-shaped bodies are roughly half an inch in length. Their young, called nymphs, are bright red in color. These distinct colors make them easy to spot when they’re gathered together, which they usually are.
Then when the temperature begins to drop, they start looking for an entry point to your home: windows, doors, vents, etc. Hundreds could sneak inside without you noticing. They’ll hide out in the walls or between slats of siding—until your home’s heating system gives them a false sense of springtime and pulls them out of hibernation. In their hunt for sustenance, they may feed on your house plants and leave visible excrement stains around your home. They’ll leave come springtime to feed and reproduce, but who wants to be stuck with pests all winter?
How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs make terrible winter guests, so when you first notice them in your house, you’ll likely want to send them packing. These bugs are smelly when crushed, however, so you’ll need to be careful when manually removing them. The cleanest, most effective way is with a vacuum cleaner. You should pop the vacuum bag in the freezer to kill off these bugs before disposing of them, though, otherwise they may come crawling right back.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to fully rid your home of these bugs midwinter. Though you can remove the ones you can see, there may be more hiding in your walls. You don’t want to kill the ones in hiding, though, because having walls full of dead boxelders can actually attract other pests like carpet beetles. This is why contacting a professional pest removal service is the wisest option.
Preventing a Boxelder Bug Invasion
As with other hibernating pests, the most effective treatment is to prevent them from invading your home in the first place. You can do this by sealing possible entry points. This may include caulking crevices, adding door sweeps, and installing screens on windows and vents. You should also keep your property clear of leaf piles, stacks of wood, and overgrown plants where they may be sheltering.
A more serious preventative treatment option is to remove any female (seed-bearing) boxelder trees from your property. These can be replaced with male boxelder trees, which don’t serve as a host for boxelder bugs. If you don’t want to cut down any trees, however, you can also help decrease the presence of these pests by regularly clearing out any fallen seedpods from the base of the female boxelder trees near your property.
Professional Boxelder Bug Removal
Just because these bugs are harmless does not make them welcome. Call McCarthy Pest & Termite Control today for effective treatment and prevention. We perform a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior of your home to ensure a customized solution to rid your home of pests.
Call us today to schedule a personalized treatment and get rid of the pests in and around your home.