Even if your house is immaculate and cleaned often, it can still be vulnerable to annoying pests. A variety of circumstances can lead to a pest infestation, including changes in the weather. Boxelder bugs, tiny insects that generally feed on boxelder trees, will look for shelter indoors during the fall and invade your home if there is a thriving population among the trees in your yard. If you have spotted boxelder pests in your house, the following guide can serve as your primer on how to rid your home of the bugs.
Identifying Boxelder Bugs Before They Enter Your Home
Boxelder trees are found all over North America in several climate zones. While they are great, low-maintenance shade trees, they can be hosts to boxelder bugs. The tiny bugs may also invade silver maple trees.
Boxelder bugs reproduce within the cracks and crevices of trees. The females lay eggs during the spring. The eggs hatch into nymphs that also feed on foliage before they become adults.
Boxelders pests have a distinct appearance. Adults are about a half-inch long with a black beetle-like body and orange stripes on the wings.
As the bugs feed on tree foliage and seeds, newly formed leaves may appear yellowish and deformed. The bugs often congregate in large groups as they develop into adulthood and can be an eyesore on your trees.
Recognizing the Pests When They Come Indoors
When boxelders get into your home, they may flock to hidden places such as baseboards, attics, vents and in between walls. However, they will also hang out on pipes underneath sinks, near windows, on window screens, on curtains, around exhaust fans and gather in large groups on ceiling lights.
While they are harmless to humans, they leave behind unsightly excrement that can stain your walls, curtains and furniture. They also emit an unpleasant odor when they are crushed. In addition, they can be an embarrassing sight when you have guests.
Eradicating the Bugs From Your Home
While you can kill boxelder pests with cans of bug spray, going on a spraying rampage will do little to eradicate the pests from your home in the long run. Some bug sprays also contain toxic chemicals that may be harmful to your pets.
Furthermore, if there is a serious infestation in your yard, you may notice thousands of the bugs congregating on the side of your home near openings or on siding searching for a way to enter the house. When faced with the creepy spectacle of thousands of bugs hanging out on an outside wall, you may feel overwhelmed.
It is more effective to get a professional to come and inspect your home and to provide you with a plan to get rid of the bugs.
A pest control expert will identify where the bugs are entering your home and implement an integrated pest management plan. In addition, licensed pest control companies have access to insecticides that are not available to the public to help them eradicate pests.
A pro's tactics to eliminate boxelders may also include
- Using vacuums to remove the bugs from hard to reach places
- Treating the host trees with professional-use insecticide
- Applying insecticide around the perimeter of your home
- Conducting follow-up visits to check the progress of the eradication
Preventing Another Boxelder Infestation
In addition to helping you rid your home of boxelder bugs, a pest control specialist will also provide suggestions, such as those listed below, on how to keep the insects out of your home permanently.
- Seal any gaps and holes where utility cables and plumbing lines enter your home
- Make sure all windows and doors are properly sealed or caulked.
- Replace any damaged window screens.
- Cover vents with screens that do not hinder the vent openings.
- Remove piles of wood that are next to your home.
- Do not let debris pile up close to your home and mow the grass regularly. You want to remove any places where boxelders can congregate and hide before entering your home.
If there is a tree close to your home with a serious infestation of boxelder bugs, you may want to consider removing the tree from your yard.