As we move into the autumn season, many people are noticing large clusters of black and red bugs on the sides of fences, trees, and homes. As we move through the fall, they may even be inside your home. There is a good chance that Boxelder bugs, Boisea trivittata, are what you are seeing.
About Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs are generally seen during warm autumn days, and sometimes during the first warm days of spring. Boxelder bugs seek areas of warmth during these times, so we often will notice them on the sides of buildings, fences, and trees sunning themselves. This year we are seeing more of these bugs than before because of the hot, long, dry summer that we have experienced.
The bugs feed on Boxelder trees that are often found near forested areas or riparian areas. We typically see boxelder bugs as they are searching for a nice warm area to over winter. This is why we often see them make their way into a home especially near the foundations of the home.
The bugs themselves are generally harmless to humans and pets, however they can be VERY annoying! Because of their large populations and clustering habits, they can exhibit quite the shock to a home owner. There are a few methods for control.
Vacuum up the bugs and discard
Apply Boiling water- Be cautious of what else the water will contact i.e. plants, furniture, carpet, siding, etc.
Guest Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.