box elder bugs swarming

Fall and the Emergence of Box Elder Bugs 

November 30, 2020

Have you noticed some strange looking bugs hanging out on the sunny side of your home recently? The change in season brings out many insects that are starting the overwintering process. The Box Elder Bug is one such pest that you may be experiencing this fall as the temperatures dip and residents of Massachusetts and New Hampshire begin to prepare for the long winter ahead. 

What Are Box Elder Bugs? 

Box Elder bug’s appearance is rather unique. They are black with reddish or orange markings on their back. Their body shape is a somewhat-flattened and elongated oval that is about 1/2 an inch long. They have six legs and two antennae.

These critters get their name from the fact that they are often found on and around Box Elder trees where they feed and lay their eggs most often. This species is native to the western states, but can be found from eastern Canada throughout the eastern United States, and west to eastern Nevada, wherever Box Elder trees are found. 

Box Elder bugs are primarily considered a nuisance pest as they enter structures, including homes, sheds, and garages to begin overwinter. This is a process that they begin every fall and complete the cycle every spring when they re-emerge. 

Habits, Behaviors & Problems

Every fall, we inevitably get emails and calls about these strange bugs clinging to the side of buildings where they hope to overwinter. They tend to congregate in large numbers on warm rocks, trees, and buildings where the sun hits.This may include your home. 

Specifically the Box Elder likes to enter small cracks in the siding of homes where they insulate themselves from the cold of winter. 

Box Elder bugs are mainly a nuisance, especially if they have targeted your home as their overwintering spot. They can emit a foul odor when they are crushed or handled, and can cause irritation if their mouthparts pierce your skin. Additionally unpleasant, is the fact that their fecal material can leave reddish-orange stains that result in fabric discoloration. Whatever way you look at this, you do not want these pests using your home as a safe haven this winter.

Preventing Box Elders 

Similar to the prevention techniques used to keep many pests out of your home, use simple methods like sealing holes in your siding and foundation, install door sweeps, and avoid crashing or crushing these critters. 

Talk to our specialists who can investigate the access points and talk to you further about how you can prevent and exclude these pests from your home now and again in the spring. 

Source of image: By Kelisi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73109308

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