Well, it’s winter out there, and it sure is col…..uhh, well, maybe not! The past week or so after the “ice storm” has been unseasonably warm…even borderline hot! It seems as soon as it gets cold for a couple of days, it goes right back to warmer temperatures causing some insects to think it’s time for Spring.
A lot of insects will spend the winter “hibernating” or overwintering in areas where they are protected from the elements. As Spring arrives and the temperatures begin to increase, these insects will emerge from their winter sites looking for food. Boxelder bugs are one of these insects, and lately, we have received quite a few calls regarding large masses of boxelder bugs congregating in many areas.
Boxelder bugs get their name from their primary host, the boxelder tree, where they feed on the seeds either on the tree or those that have fallen on the ground. However, the boxelder tree is not their only source of food. They will also feed on silver maples and sycamore maples as well as tree-dropped fruits such as apples, prunes and pears. During the summer and fall months, the boxelder bugs will mate, usually twice per year, and continue to spread their colonies until it’s time to find a suitable habitat to spend the winter. Generally, this is in a structure or protected area near their food source, which could include attics or wall voids in your home.
Once emerged (typically in late March or early April) they will find these sources of food, so that they can feed for about two weeks before beginning the mating process all over again. With the unseasonably warm weather we are experiencing, it appears that some boxelders bugs have begun that process much sooner than expected. In some cases, if the boxelder bugs have overwintered in your attic or a wall void in your home, they can emerge inside the home causing quite a nuisance!
In most cases, exclusion efforts such as sealing doors and windows are sufficient for keeping these pests out of your home as long as they’re performed during the summer or early fall when the pests are most likely to be out of their overwintering site. However, if they have already gotten in the home and an infestation is present, a remedial treatment may be necessary to eliminate the issue.
If you are experiencing a problem with these bugs or any other type of infestation, please call Mr. Bugg’s Pest Patrol for a solution!