Autumn is here and Boxelder bugs will try to move into homes during fall as they search for overwintering sites, often in large numbers. Fortunately, they do not bite people and are essentially harmless to property. When abundant, they can stain walls, curtains, and other surfaces with their excrement.
During late summer and fall, boxelder bugs start to leave the trees from where they were feeding to find protected areas for the winter. Adult boxelder bugs typically can fly several blocks, although in some cases they can travel as far as two miles.
As the weather cools, boxelder bugs push into cracks and spaces around homes. In some cases they end up in the interior of buildings where they are often found around windows. They remain active until it becomes cold, which could continue into winter when the weather is mild. While you may see persistent numbers of these bugs, individuals are short-lived, only surviving for a few days up to a week. Other boxelder bugs end up in sheltered areas in walls, attics and similar areas where they remain until it warms up.
Eventually by spring, all the surviving boxelder bugs that overwintered inside buildings become active. They try to move outdoors but many remain trapped inside. Despite the circumstantial evidence, they do not reproduce in homes — all the boxelder bugs seen inside during winter and spring entered buildings the previous fall.
The best management of boxelder bugs is prevention — take steps to keep them from entering your home from the start. Repair or replace damaged window and door screens. Repair or replace damaged screens in roof and soffit vents, and in bathroom and kitchen fans. Seal areas where cable TV wires, phone lines, and other utility wires and pipes, outdoor facets, dryer vents and similar objects enter buildings. Seal with caulk or for larger spaces use polyurethane expandable spray foam, copper mesh, or other appropriate sealant. Install door sweeps or thresholds to all exterior entry doors. Install a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors.
Boxelder bugs are found the best option is to physically remove them with a vacuum or a broom and dust pan. If this occurs during fall, check around the building exterior because they can often be found congregating in sunny or warm areas. If they are close to entrances, an insecticide may be required to prevent their entrance into a home.
If the boxelder bugs are more than you can handle, call the highly trained professionals at Blue Planet pest control.