adult and juvenile box elder beetles on leaf

Box Elder Beetles

Box Elder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest, annoying residents by crawling on exteriors and inside dwellings on warm fall and winter days. They also may stain draperies and other light-colored surfaces and produce an unpleasant odor when crushed, but these are not major problems. They do not reproduce during this period. They may attempt to feed on house plants but do not cause any damage. On rare occasions, they have been reported to bite humans.

Boxelder bugs feed on a variety of plants, but their favorite food is box elder seed pods, which are found only on the female boxelder tree, and occasionally maple seeds. These bugs seldom develop in sufficient numbers to be a nuisance unless a female boxelder tree is in the neighborhood.

Overwintering
The Box Elder bug overwinters as an adult in protected places such as houses and other buildings, in cracks or crevices in walls, doors, under windows and around foundations, particularly on south and west exposures. In the spring when tree buds open, females lay small, red eggs on leaves and stones and in cracks and crevices in the bark of female boxelder trees. The eggs later hatch into young nymphs that are wingless and bright red with some black markings. These young bugs usually are found on low vegetation near boxelder trees until seeds are formed on the tree, on which they start to feed.

Control
Removing female boxelder trees or golden rain trees is the most permanent solution to the problem, although this may not be practical or desirable. Chemical control can best be obtained by spraying the nymphs on the host trees before the adults have had a chance to migrate. Power spray equipment is usually required and a professional should be hired to do the job safely.

Haley Pest Control offers Pest Control and Termite Control in Lawrence, KS  and in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Leawood, Shawnee Mission, Stanley, Topeka, Kansas, Baldwin, Eudora,  Kansas City, Basehor, Linwood, Ottawa, Tonganoxie, Mclouth, Perry and Lecompton.  We offer Pest Management and Exterminator services for the following counties: Douglas, Johnson, Jefferson, Franklin, Shawnee, Wyandotte and Leavenworth, KS.
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Haley Pest Control 2008