What do boxelder bugs and stink bugs have in common? For one, they are both classic fall invaders. As the weather gets colder, they will move indoors seeking shelter from the upcoming winter cold. To avoid a boxelder bug and stink bug infestation, homeowners need to be proactive in preventing them from finding their way inside in the first place. Otherwise, you may have unwelcome winter guests far past the holidays

Identifying Boxelder Bugs and Stink Bugs

To understand this type of infestation, you need to begin by identifying what kinds of pests you are dealing with. Here are some basic characteristics of boxelder bugs and stink bugs.

What Is a Boxelder Bug?

These oval-shaped pests are black with distinctive red markings on their back. They grow to be half-inch in length and sport six legs and two antennae. Their name comes from the boxelder tree, which they call home—during the warm months. Your home is at the most risk if you have boxelder, maple, or ash trees nearby, but these pests may fly up to two miles seeking shelter. While they are primarily a nuisance pest, they can bite, leaving a small red inflamed mark the size of a mosquito bite. The biggest nuisance is in removing them from your home: if you crush them, their fecal matter leaves a reddish-orange stain behind on fabric.

What Is a Stink Bug?

Roughly 3/4-inch in length, these six-legged bugs are grayish brown and have a wide, shield-shaped body. This invasive species made its way from Eastern Asia to the United States in the 1990s and has since spread quickly throughout the country. Their name tells you exactly what you need to know about these pests: their abdomen features glands that release a foul odor when they are threatened or crushed. They tend to group together, so if you spot one, expect that there are many more nearby.

Boxelder Bug and Stink Bug Infestations

The first sign of an infestation risk may be when you spot large groupings of either species gathered on the exterior wall on the south side of your home, where they can catch some sun. Once the temperature drops, they begin to seek a warm place to overwinter, typically crawling under the siding, into the attic, and even into the exterior walls of the house. If it is a particularly cold winter, they may seek shelter deeper inside of your home—this is when you may see them inside your living space and realize you have an infestation. Once the weather warms, they emerge from their overwintering site and head back outside. This can also occur early during an unseasonably warm winter, as the bugs can be tricked into thinking it is spring and become active again.

Professional Boxelder Bug and Stink Bug Removal

When it comes to boxelder bug and stink bug infestations, the best pest control strategy is preventative. Both bugs have thin bodies which allow them to sneak in through small crevices, so a professional pest control company will begin by identifying possible entry points and then sealing them off.

If you are experiencing an infestation, you should also consult a professional, as removing either of these nuisance pests is complicated. The bugs you spot in your home must be handled with care, otherwise you risk leaving behind a smelly, stained mess. And while no one wants to live with the knowledge that your walls are full of bugs, you should never try to kill these while they are inside of them—boxelder carcasses can attract carpenter beetles and other pests. A professional pest removal company will determine the most effective plan for managing your infestation and removing the pests from your living space.

Ready to take preventative action against a possible winter infestation? McCarthy Pest & Termite Control can help. When we treat the exterior during the fall, we focus on all the possible entry points—high and low—to reduce the number of pests that are overwintering in your home. Send those unwanted guests packing from the moment they arrive at your door!