What are boxelder bugs?
These insects also share the fact that they regularly invade our homes during the colder months of the year to overwinter. In Utah, we have three different species of insects that spend most of their time outside living and feeding on specific trees using their piercing, sucking mouthparts. These are collectively known as boxelder bugs, but individually they are elm seed bugs, western conifer seed bugs, and proper boxelder bugs.
Elm Seed Bugs
Adult elm seed bugs have an oval shape, are winged, and have dark, rusty-red, and black coloration. They have an identifying black upside-down triangle between two rusty-red triangles on the back.
Western Conifer Seed Bugs
Western conifer seed bugs are brown and black, have a small, pointed head, square "shoulders," and wings the length of their body.
Adult boxelder bugs are ½ inch in length and are black in color with red markings on their wings and behind their head. Boxelder bugs have an elongated, oval body with black coloration and a vibrant orange color outlining their wings.
Boxelder bugs get their name from their main food source, the Boxelder tree. They suck the sap out from the leaves, seeds, and shoots of the tree. They are also found feeding on maple and ash trees.
Are boxelder bugs dangerous?
Boxelder bugs do not sting and although they may bite, it is not usually painful. All three species are primarily nuisance pests. They don't cause any real harm when outside. Having these insects covering trees in your yard may be unsightly, but it is generally not problematic. These insects do become a problem for homeowners when they decide to move into your home to overwinter.
They are not a dangerous pest but could cause problems for homes when they congregate in large numbers as they are likely to do.
Remember, it won't just be one or two of these insects getting into your home, but hundreds of them. Once inside, they migrate to dark, dry, quiet areas like attics, wall voids, and crawl spaces. They will remain in their overwintering spots until the spring when they move through your home once again to get back outside. The most important thing to remember is that if boxelder bugs, elm seed bugs, or Western conifer seed bugs are getting into your home, other, potentially more dangerous insects will use those same entry points!
Why do I have a boxelder bug problem?
Boxelder bugs often enter homes in the Ogden area during the fall months when the weather starts to cool off. They are looking for a warm place to take shelter in for the winter, and will often be found around sources of heat such as lights and air conditioning units.
Where will I find boxelder bugs?
Boxelder bugs primarily live on seed-bearing trees. Their name indicates their food preferences as boxelder bugs prefer boxelder trees.
These insects spend most of their time outside visible on trees, but when overwintering in our homes, they move to hidden areas. Boxelder bugs regularly overwinter in attics, wall voids, and crawl spaces.
How do I get rid of boxelder bugs?
When boxelder bugs get into your home, there’s no better time to call Peak Pest Control for help. Our comprehensive residential pest management programs are administered by expert technicians using the best tools and practices in the industry to ensure a complete treatment for your home.
If you’re an Ogden-area home or business owner that’s tired of boxelder bugs on your property, give us a call at Peak Pest Control for immediate assistance!
How can I prevent boxelder bugs in the future?
In addition to our professional pest services for Cache County, use the following tips to keep boxelder bugs, elm seed bugs, and Western conifer seed bugs out of your home.
- Use steel wool to fill in spaces around wires and other utilities entering your home.
- Caulk cracks in the foundations.
- Place weather-stripping around windows and doors.
- Make sure screens are intact and replace any that are damaged.
- Install door sweeps.
- Repair roof damage.
Unfortunately, when they swarm boxelder bugs can be a difficult pest to stop even with the best prevention steps in place. When prevention fails, it’s important to be able to find a professional pest control service to get rid of boxelder bugs and handle your boxelder bug problem quickly, effectively, and safely.