Boxelder bugs are pests that enter homes across California every fall. During the summer, they live outdoors, particularly being drawn to boxelder trees. However, when autumn rolls around and winter is close by, boxelder bugs search for shelter. Unfortunately, warmth and shelter can be found in the wall voids of your home. Once boxelder bugs enter your home, it’s nearly impossible to remove them, making professional pest control necessary.
What are boxelder bugs?
Boxelder bugs are 1/2 inch long and black with red or orange stripes on their abdomen. Their wings lay flat across the back and overlap. They live in boxelder trees during the spring and summer, feeding off of the leaves, flowers, and seeds. You’ll typically see boxelder bugs in the spring when they leave humanmade structures to live outdoors, or in the fall when they try to enter homes for the winter. It’s only during this time that you may be altered to a potential boxelder bug infestation in your home.
What attracts boxelder bugs to my house?
Boxelder trees, also called “ash-leaved maples,” are technically maple trees. They aren’t commercially sold and are treated more like a weed due to their ability to rapidly grow on their own in nature and tendency to attract boxelder bugs. Once mature, boxelder trees can grow up to 60 ft tall. There are both female and male boxelder trees which are easily differentiated by their flowering patterns. Females attract boxelder bugs more so than males due to the fruit they bear that looks like small drooping pods, turning green when pollinated. Boxelder bugs primarily feed on these seeds, which is why female boxelder trees are significantly worse to have on your property. Removing boxelder trees from your property will greatly reduce the likelihood of boxelder bug activity. The main problem with total boxelder bug prevention is that even if you remove what’s growing in your yard because these trees grow so rapidly on their own, a boxelder tree on your neighbor’s property could be the reason why boxelder bugs are invading your home. By cleaning up these seed pods as you see them, you will be removing a boxelder bug food source. Boxelder bugs are also known to feed on the sap of maple trees, ash trees, and the young fruit of grapes, apples, and plums.
Are boxelder bugs dangerous?
Boxelder bugs are not parasitic like mosquitoes and ticks, so they are not attracted to humans. They do have the capability to bite if they are directly handled, but it’s very uncommon. In the fall, boxelder bugs migrate in large groups towards the wall voids of homes and businesses. They “overwinter”, which is akin to how animals hibernate. Hundreds of boxelder bugs could be living in your walls without you even knowing. Boxelder bugs do not eat wood or cause any sort of structural damage, so the only threat is of a nuisance insect.
How can I get rid of boxelder bugs?
The best method of control is prevention. They are considered to be an “overwintering pest,” which means they enter your home to escape winters. Although they don’t reproduce when in this state, they can enter your home and become a nuisance in your home. To effectively prevent bugs that overwinter, make sure you seal up any cracks in your home, especially around windows, vents, and doors. Once they have infested a structure, professional pest control services are the only solution to complete boxelder bug control.
Trying to control the infestation on your own may result in complications and the worsening of pest activity. If you kill boxelder bugs within the wall voids on your own, the scent of their decaying bodies can attract beetles and increase insect populations within the structure. Boxelder bugs also leave a reddish-orange stain from their disposal of feces when they are squished, which can leave marks on your carpet, clothing, and other fabric items.
If you want to prevent boxelder bugs from getting into your home, contact AAI Pest Control! Call us or fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about our boxelder bug control services.