Nobody wants to find a pest in their home, especially in large quantities. Unfortunately, as cold weather approaches, certain critters may find your home as a haven. The boxelder bug is one of these nuisances, and you should understand what they look like, what potential damage they can do, and if they can harm your family. Moreover, you need to know what to when you find boxelder bugs.
Boxelder Bug Identification
Boxelder bugs have an ovular shape and are about a half-inch long. Generally, they’re about as third as wide as they are long. These bugs look slightly flat and are primarily black but have orange or reddish-colored markings on their backs. This bug has six legs and wings with a head that’s thinner than their thorax.
These bugs lay yellow eggs, but the eggs change to red as the nymph develops. Once born, the boxelder nymphs look very similar to the adults but are wingless and tend to be red.
Moreover, boxelder bugs look similar to squash bugs and milkweed bugs.
Boxelder Bug Habitat
Most of the time, you find these bugs in the western or eastern the United States, and Nevada. However, you may find these creatures in Illinois as well.
Generally, boxelder bugs are born in boxelder trees, but they also will attack some species of maple trees, and remain there throughout spring. As fall approaches, you may notice them gathering in groups in trees and on warm rocks. Sometimes, these bugs will also dwell outside of a building where the sun hits.
Then, these creatures move to buildings and homes, including sheds and garages. Once boxelder bugs enter a home, they usually hide in tiny crevices and cracks in the walls to overwinter.
At the end of winter, these bugs tend to enter back into the outside. On the other hand, if they remain trapped in your home somewhere, they’ll die there.
Boxelder Bug Life Cycle
Female boxelder bugs lay eggs in the spring in the bark of boxelder trees, hence their name. Within a few days, these eggs hatch, and nymphs emerge.
By the end of summer, the nymphs are adults. Not long after, boxelder bugs lay another batch of eggs, resulting in second-generation nymphs.
Boxelder Bug Damage
When the boxelder bugs are outside, these pests eat foliage from the trees, primarily, the young leaves and seeds of the boxelder or maple trees. You may notice that the leaves on these trees have discoloration. Fortunately, if these bugs consume an ornamental tree of yours, you won’t have much damage. In some cases, boxelder bugs may consume the fruits of apple or plum trees.
Boxelder bugs don’t tend to harm any of your belongings. However, you might notice small, light-colored spots on your clothing, curtains, or furnishings, where these bugs left their waste.
Boxelder Bug Dangers
These bugs aren’t known to sting, nor will they bite unless you try to handle them. If one does bite you out of defense, you may develop irritation around the site that looks similar to a mosquito bite.
Fortunately, boxelder bugs aren’t known to carry any disease that could transmit to you, your family, or your pets.
Boxelder Bug Prevention Tips
Keep in mind that the boxelder bug leaves off a foul odor when you crush them. Additionally, if you leave them to die in your home, the odor that they give off may attract beetles, including carpet beetles.
Ideally, you want to prevent them from entering your home, which means you need to close off small crevices in your home where they may enter, such as around windows and doors. You also want to replace any broken screen doors. Screens should be used over any vent openings in the attic or soffit of your home to prevent entry.
While boxelder bugs may not hurt you or your possessions, who wants bugs in their home? With a professional pest control company, you may rid your home of these nuisances without the possibility of their offensive odor attracting other pests.
Schedule a consultation with A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc, serving Chicago, IL, and the general vicinity, to rid your home of boxelder bugs today.