The Box Elder Bug is sometimes called a ‘sap sucker’ due to their ability to penetrate plant tissue and consume its’ secretions. The boxelder bug likes to feed on the sap of maple, ash trees, and specifically the boxelder tree. The key here is that the boxelder bug loves warmth. Therefore, in the summer, you will see it out and about, enjoying the sap of its home trees.
They become a problem when they begin to enter the home as they travel in colonies of hundreds or even thousands during spring and fall months. Boxelder bugs will congregate on the warm sunny sides of homes and other buildings when the weather becomes cooler in the late fall. As they move up exterior walls, they can find their way inside through cracks and crevices. Your home is the perfect resting place for the boxelder bug to wait out the cold winter months. You may wonder how they even get inside your home. They are smart insects, and know how to look for any openings and infiltrate in the least obvious of places. You may never have noticed that small hole in your living room window caulking or maybe the weather stripping around the doors is old and cracked. A small crack in any part of the exterior of your home is like a giant welcome sign for these insects. Once one finds a way in, they invite their buddies to settle in and disperse throughout your home.
Once inside, they can move throughout your home, hiding together in quiet out-of-the-way places like attics, wall voids, crawl spaces, and underneath floors. In the spring, when the weather warms, boxelder bugs will emerge from their overwintering spots and travel back outside to feed and breed.
The truth is, they are virtually harmless, but they do cause some damage and are a huge nuisance as they crawl and fly around inside your home. We have heard many customer stories of waking up to them climbing on arms and faces or of feeling a tickle on the back of their neck while trying to relax.
An integrated approach of sealing your home the best you can and preventive spraying can significantly reduce the number of box elder bugs that make it into your home alive to drive you crazy. Because the seasons timing and conditions can vary so widely from year to year, it’s hard to predict when they will show up in such large numbers to be a concern. As with most things in life, consistency pays off. A regular pest control program will ensure you are ready for whatever may happen.