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Unless they are annoying us, most of us pay little attention to bugs outdoors.
Even when that bug is as distinctive as the box elder bug. This black bug, with its colorful reddish orange markings along its thorax and on its sides, is largely ignored, unless a homeowner finds large numbers gathered around their home or until it finds it way indoors. The smaller nymphs are wingless and bright red in color.
In the fall, you may notice unusually large numbers of box elder bugs sunning along an outside south or west wall of a building. At this point some box elder bugs, trying to find a warm place to overwinter, may find their way into your home. Sealing cracks and entrances may be of some help in keeping this pest outdoors. They do seem to prefer the limestone buildings around our area.
They are considered more of a nuisance bug once they enter indoors. To treat bugs indoor, you can either place them back outside, they do no move very quickly, or just vacuum the occasional invader. If you have an abundance of box elder bugs you may need to call a professional to treat both indoors and outdoors.
The adult box elder, which is about one half inch in length, feeds on a variety of plants, especially the box elder tree along with the ash and maple tree. Indoors, they may feed on houseplants, but should not over stress the plant. It is rare that a box elder bug will bite a human. Their feces may stain curtains and other surfaces and when crushed they produce a foul odor.
Once the winter is over, you may encounter the box elder bug again as they try to find their way outdoors to feed and lay eggs. By May any remaining box elder bugs should have made their way back outdoors by themselves or with a little help from you.
To prevent or discourage any box elder bugs from entering your home in the coming fall, give us a call at 1-800-966-9599 to treat your home.
To learn more about other Kansas related pests that might be causing you problems, visit our Pest Library and Knowledge Center