What do Box Elder Bugs look like?
These small beetles are oval shaped and only about half an inch long. Their black bodies have red lines along the thorax, sides and wings.
Habits of Box Elder Bugs
During warm seasons, the Box Elder Bug prefers to live in Box Elder, Maple and Ash trees where they can feed on leaves, twigs and flowers. They swarm together in large numbers and can sometimes be found on the south or southwest sides of structures. In the winter, these pests look for cracks or holes in buildings in order to seek shelter during hibernation, and in the spring the females will lay reddish-brown eggs. Eggs usually hatch within 10-14 days.
Box Elder Bugs are not a common pest unless there are trees on the property that attract the swarm.
Damage Caused by Box Elder Bugs
Fortunately these pests do not bite nor cause damage to structures, such as homes or outbuildings, but they can cause damage to host trees. Anyone planting a Box Elder tree in the yard, should consider a male Box Elder because they are less susceptible to infestation.
Once inside, Box Elder bugs can stain carpet and furniture with their droppings, and release a foul odor if crushed.
How to Prevent Box Elder Bugs from Coming Inside
To prevent Box Elder Bugs from entering a structure, replace any damaged screens on patios and windows, check for cracks or holes in the foundation and check the seals around doors and windows. Trimming branches away from the structure can also help reduce the chance of Box Elder Bugs from entering the home.
When to Call the Professionals
If one Box Elder Bug is found inside, it is likely there are several more hiding. A properly trained and licensed expert can provide indoor and outdoor treatments that protect the structure, and offer guidance on how to keep them from entering.