boxelder bugs

Catch of the Week: Boxelder Bugs in Clive

November 5, 2018

With fall weather finally in full swing, we’re noticing a lot more boxelder bugs congregating together outside and around homes and businesses. Recently, we saw a large colony gathered in large clumps in the backyard of a Clive homeowner. This time of year, boxelder bugs are ready to find an outlet from colder weather and discover the best place to hibernate over winter. Learn more about these pests and what you can do to keep them out!

What Homeowners & Businesses Need to Know About Boxelder Bugs

These insects get their name from the type of tree they usually feed on. Boxelder bugs live and reproduce on boxelder trees, as well as ash and maple trees. During the spring and summer months, these insects nest, reproduce and feed on the host trees they choose. You can tell if a group of boxelder bugs has taken over one of these trees, there will be a slight discoloration in the leaves or fruit deformities.

As the weather changes around October or November, the boxelder bugs will prepare for overwintering by leaving their trees and searching for shelter in tree stumps, under outdoor debris or within homes and businesses. They begin the search process by gathering together in large numbers before moving indoors and soaking up as much sun and warmth as possible before making their way through tiny cracks and hibernating for the entire winter season. Once the weather starts to warm up in March or April, they’ll emerge from their hiding places and go back outside to another tree host.

What makes boxelder bugs unique?

Unlike most insects, boxelder bugs are more sensitive to cold. Instead of hiding in dark and undisturbed places around your home, one of the priorities of a boxelder bug is to find sunlight. They will oftentimes be found on the western and southern sides of buildings, since these have the most light exposure. Their attraction to sunlight can also make them easily identifiable in the home, since you’d be more likely to spot a group of boxelder bugs coming out during the day to get some sun.

Some pests want to find a way inside for shelter, food and other resources, but these critters use properties only as a short-term shelter. Boxelder bugs have no interest in living in homes and businesses full time because they need to feed off trees. These insects will leave your property as soon as hibernation is over and weather conditions are warm enough to live outside again.

Are Boxelder Bugs Dangerous?

Boxelder bugs are mostly just a nuisance pest since they travel in such large numbers and release an odor when squished. Fortunately, these insects do not transmit diseases or sting, although on rare occasions they will bite as a defense mechanism. Additionally, boxelder bugs will not cause much damage to properties, other than the reddish stains left behind on fabrics or floors from their feces.

Keep Boxelder Bugs Out of Your Home

These insects are very thin and can find a way to squeeze through the tiniest cracks and crevices to get inside your home. Prevent boxelder bugs from becoming a problem in your home or business by sealing any cracks in the siding, having weather stripping on doors and installing screens on windows for added protection. The most common areas boxelder bugs will try to get into your home include:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Faucets
  • Vents
  • Siding

To keep from attracting boxelder bugs, there are a few precautions you can take outside. Besides sealing off your home or business, make sure you are cleaning your yard of any debris or unnecessary stumps since many insects, including the boxelder bug, will use this as a hiding spot.

If these critters do manage to get inside your home or business, there are a few options to get rid of boxelder bugs:

  • Vacuum them up and freeze or dispose of the bag.
  • Sweep them up and release them outside or throw them away.
  • Call your local pest control company to spray some insecticides.

Boxelder Bug Pest Control in Des Moines

Get your home or business prepared for all pests trying to get inside before winter, including boxelder bugs. Call our expert pest technicians in Des Moines to get your property treated and inspected for potential entry points. Call us at (515) 415-5550 or schedule an appointment online with Preferred Pest Control today!

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