How to Prevent a Box Elder Bug Invasion
The box elder bug is a lesser-known pest that’s often mistaken for a beetle. Although box elder bugs are harmless and do not cause damage to your home, they can be a nuisance and are difficult to get rid of using regular pest control measures. Proactive pest prevention is the best way to keep your home free of these pests.
How to Spot the Box Elder Bug
Box elder bugs grow to half an inch in length during their adulthood. Typically, the box elder bug is black with three red stripes on its thorax and red veins throughout its wings. It can be distinguished from the beetle by the appearance of its young, or nymphs, which are bright red and smaller than their beetle counterparts.
They feed on soft plant matter, such as leaves, flowers and new twigs, and can commonly be found on box elder, maple and ash trees. During the fall, they migrate from their summer feeding habitat to the sides of homes and other structures that get a good deal of sunlight. They often return to the same place seasonally, with their population increasing each time. In fact, they can grow so numerous that the entire wall of your home or fence can become completely covered by them.
Through cracks and other tiny openings, they find their way inside Inside Pest Control the home and nest in the walls during the colder months.
Box Elders in the Home
Box elder bugs seek shelter in your home through cracks and crevices in walls, doors and under and around the foundation, usually on the southern and western exposures. They hibernate during the cold weather, remaining active inside the walls; however, heating systems can revive them and cause them to make their way into inhabited parts of the home.
They don’t feed on anything inside your home, and they don’t breed there, either. However, they can leave fecal stains on your upholstery and emit a foul odor when crushed.
Pest Control for Box Elder Bugs
Once these pests move into your home, regular pest control methods are generally ineffective at getting them out. The best way to control these pests is to keep their population down during summer and fall, and to utilize green pest control techniques to prevent them from entering your home.
Pest prevention methods for these bugs include:
— Remove nearby box elder and maple trees, and plant different types of trees along the west- and south-facing sides of your home. Without a food source or breeding ground nearby, they will have no reason to enter your home.
— Caulk around windows and doors, and repair any broken window or door screens to keep them from entering your home.
— Apply weather stripping to doors, and seal off any other crevices as much as possible. A green pest control company can help with this.
— Hire a pest control service to apply a residual insecticide to the exterior walls on which they congregate. This discourages them from …