Menomonee Falls Patch
Shane McCoy
September 23rd, 2014

With the fall season now upon us, boxelder bugs and other seasonal pests have begun making their way indoors, invading homes and buildings in search of a safe place to spend the cold winter months. Partial to warm, sunny places, home and business owners will often see these pests basking in the sunlight in southern or western exposures in and around buildings until the cold winter weather sends them searching for cracks, crevices and other sheltered areas indoors.

Although boxelders are relatively harmless, their habit of migrating in large numbers causes them to be a nuisance for property owners far and wide. They have also been known to stain walls, curtains and other areas with their excrement.

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While most people associate these pests with the springtime, boxelder infestations actually begin in the fall when the bugs move indoors. They only resurface in the spring as they emerge from hibernation and make their way back outside. In order to avoid an infestation this fall that will last until early in the spring, I recommend taking a few preventative measures before the weather turns cold, starting with being able to identify the intruder.

What is a boxelder bug?

  • Adult boxelder bugs are about 1/2 an inch long with flat wings that lay across their backs.
  • They are typically black with distinctive orange or red markings (see photo).
  • Boxelders are named after the trees they feed on; other food sources include Ash, Maple and Cherry Trees as well as other seed-bearing plants.

A nuisance pest:

  • While boxelders do not bite or cause damage to property, they have earned their reputation as a nuisance pest due to their large seasonal migration into homes, businesses and other buildings.
  • Boxelders are usually found around windows, cracks and crevices, and in southern or western exposures seeking sunlight.
  • They can also be found in walls or attics.

Prevention and tips for exclusion:

  • Repair or replace damaged screen doors 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 exterior cracks and openings with caulk and for larger spaces use polyurethane expandable spray foam, copper mesh or other appropriate sealant.
  • Install door sweeps at the thresholds to all exterior entry doors; install a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors.

These tips are not only helpful to pest prevention, but will also help you seal up any cracks that will let in cold air before winter arrives!

Do you have any tips to share? I welcome your comments and feedback!

About Shane McCoy:

Shane McCoy is the Technical Training Director for Wil-Kil Pest Control, a regional pest management company providing quality pest management for residential and commercial properties throughout the Upper Midwest. As an Associate Certified Entomologist with over 18 years of experience in pest management, Shane’s blog provides expert tips and tricks, timely information and solutions for coexisting with the insect life and critters around us. To learn more about Wil-Kil Pest Control, please visit www.wil-kil.com. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@ WilKilPest).