Boxelder bugs are generally black and red and have been identified in most states of the Union. Although other insects closely related to Boxelders look like them including the milkweed bug, none are likely to congregate in huge numbers like boxelder bugs. Members of this insect family feed on woody plants and herbs. The boxelder bug got it’s name because it was found to infest boxelder trees. These trees were planted in the west as settlers wanted quick growing shade trees. The availability of the vast numbers of boxelder trees allowed the boxelder bug to flourish. It now infests many other species of trees including maples, apple and almond. It seems to like several types of dead insects and fruit as well.
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BOXELDER BUG PROBLEMS
Boxelder bugs become a problem when they move into your yard or home. Once they begin to infest a tree, their population will grow from year to year. You will notice them congregating in massive numbers on the tree bark, limbs and the immediate ground around the tree. This congregation will occur in the spring and then again in the fall. In the spring, the boxelder emerges from its winter hibernation looking for a tree or plant that will supply food for the season.
BOXELDER BUG BIOLOGY
Young hatch in early summer and grow like roaches; they develop by instars. This means they go through several stages which resemble adults but will be smaller in size. As they molt and begin a new instar, they will become more and more like their reproducing parents. In the fall, they will seek the south or warm side of the tree or plant they have been feeding on throughout the summer. As it cools more, boxelder bugs will take up residence in nearby homes and structures.
Since they over- winter and do not die from year to year, a population can reach huge numbers. This “colony” will readily infest the same area from year to year once a successful winter shelter has been found. Some will migrate onto your home and ultimately lead to them getting inside. Besides the damage to leaves, fruit and trees around the home, if they are allowed to infest your house they will end up invading relentlessly. Expect to have them climbing walls, clinging to curtains and buzzing around lights and ceilings throughout the winter. Since your home is heated, they don’t need to “sleep” through the cold. Instead, they will forage around inside causing discomfort and being a nuisance until the spring. Here is a short video of one inside a home. This boxelder was filmed in the middle of winter but because it’s warm inside, they’ll stay active.
This video shows many phases of Boxelder Bugs so you can see adults compared to nymphs. All are common to find when you have an infestation.
You can attempt to seal them out but this will require the right products and some time. sealing is effective, however, and help to keep out all other unwanted pests. For this reason the time and cost to do some “house sealing” is worth it. Most homes that get invaded have lots and lots of small cracks, crevices and gaps through which boxelders enter. These entry points should be reduced and/or eliminated with the use of some FOAM SEALENT.
These cans are self charged and good for small jobs. If you have a lot of work to do, it would be wise to invest in one of the professional FOAM GUNS and maybe even the 24″ FOAM GUN. These tools will enable you to apply the sealent quickly and precisely without much waste or missed applications. In other words, they will more then pay for themselves.
You’ll need the FOAM CANNISTERS for these guns, which easily fit on either applicator, and cover a much larger area then the smaller cans. If your home is prone to animal invasions, consider the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This cannister comes with expanding foam but includes a strong repellent which insects and animals do not like. It may be just what you need to make sure ladybugs and other undesirable home invaders aren’t able to find their way inside quite as easily as they have in the past. Be sure to keep your guns clean by using some FOAM GUN CLEANER. This will help keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed.
Foam Repellent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/aerosol/pur-ipf-foam
Pur Gun Cleaner: http://www.bugspraycart.com/sanitizer/aerosol/pur-cleaner
BOXELDER BUGS MAKE A MESS
Although boxelder bugs don’t bite, they will make a mess. Their droppings will accumulate where they are roosting and their eggs will appear as a series of small sacks laid 6-12 in a row. Since warm homes interfere with their natural cycles and biology, you may find reproduction and egg laying throughout the winter months. To remove the ones which are emerging inside the home, use a vacuum. This may seem like a never ending job, but it allows for a clean and quick removal of the pest. However, if you don’t address where they are entering, expect the supply of boxelder bugs to be ever increasing. To stop the invasion, there are several things you should do both inside and outside.
BOXELDER BUG OUTSIDE SPRAY
First, address the outside. Since most infestations start slowly, you can head it off before they establish themselves inside. If you have seen them congregating on a tree or the side of your house, you need to spray them immediately. Use CYPERMETHRIN and SPREADER STICKER for a quick kill. Mix these in a SPRAYER and treat any tree, plant or structure you see them accumulating on. This treatment will reduce the active ones wanting to nest in and around your home. By reducing these numbers, you are reducing the amount that could find their way inside. If you are treating an infestation which is outside only, the Cypermethrin will kill off those which are emerging. However, for long term control, the treatment must reach down to where the boxelders are nesting.
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Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
BOXELDER BUG LAWN TREATMENTS
So if you’re seeing activity on a tree, you should also treat the ground around the tree with the intent being of getting the treatment to reach the roots of the host plant. For such situations, the use of DELTAGUARD GRANULES will be needed. Apply the Granules with a GRANULE SPREADER to insure you get a good even distribution.
In most cases, it is better to treat and kill off the established population instead of removing the infested plant. Simply removing the infested plant will rarely remove all the Boxelders and in most cases they will just move over to the next available host. Prevent this from happening if you have a lot of plants infested by first applying some of the Granules and then spraying over the top with the Cypermethrin.
To help identify just how much of an area you should treat, a pair of STRESS GLASSES can really help. These unique filtering glasses will help to reveal just which shrubs and trees are under duress and need attention. Be sure to treat around them with both the Granules and liquid Cypermethrin to insure you get good penetration.
Now if the activity is distributed over a large area, like 5,000 sq/ft or more, go with CYONARA RTS for the liquid to apply instead of Cypermethrin. Cyonara is closely related to Cypermethrin but it’s designed for covering large areas more effectively. And since it comes with it’s own hose end sprayer, it’s much easier to apply over a large area.
BOXELDER BUG DUST FOR HIDDEN SPACES
If the boxelders have already moved inside and have started nesting in your home, you will have to treat the structure as well. The first step for treating the home is to spray the outside walls. Using the cypermethrin, simply spray as high up the sides of the home you can reach. Our pump sprayer is able to reach up to 30 feet high which is needed in many situations. For mild infestations, spraying the outside of the home will stop them. If the population is one which is established and is more than a year old, you will have to do more. In addition to spraying with cypermethrin, you will need to treat cracks and crevices with DRIONE DUST.
This material acts as a dessicant on the boxelder bugs and will make hibernation impossible. Drione is very to safe to use and yet very effective. Because it dries insects out, they find it to be irritating and just about any pest will avoid treated areas. Using a HAND DUSTER, apply the Drione to any crack, crevice, joint or seam where boxelders may enter. It may take a while to treat, but it will keep these invading pests out. Drione can also be used inside for wall treatments. Such areas are prime entry points and include electric outlets, switch plate covers, light fixtures, window and door frames.
BOXELDER BUG SPRAY FOR LIVING SPACES
If your home has already been invaded and you are finding the boxelders emerging inside, you must reduce their numbers. This can be done by vacuuming and treating with PT PHANTOM.
This aerosol is easy to use and it comes with a thin injector tube which allows you to treat thin cracks and seams through which the boxelders may enter. Treat the rooms where most of the activity is found. Treat around window frames, door frames, electric outlets, molding, light fixtures and just about any crack or crevice leading to the interior of walls or attic space. If the outside has been treated with Drione and Cypermethrin before the boxelders have moved in for the winter, you shouldn’t expect to have any coming inside. However, if you have experienced activity in the past, expect to see some even after treatment. Although this number should decrease, do not expect to get rid of them immediately. It will take a season or two for the cycle to be completely broken and their population diminished.
Once you have treated, only time will help the application to have it maximum effect. To help deal with the few you may still be seeing, a HAND HELD ZAPPER can be used. Its handy because it will kill just about any flying or crawling insect without making a mess.If you have a lot which are accumulating in cracks and crevices, our handy BUG VACUUM/ZAPPER may be better suited. It comes with it’s own recharger and works on just about any type of insect allowing for quick and clean bug removal.
Hand Held Zapper: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/hand-held-zapper
Bug Vacuum Zapper: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/bug-vacuumzapper
Treating for boxelder bugs before they move into the wall voids of your home is the best way to stop invading populations. Expect to see them grouping in the fall as they prepare for their winter hibernation. Treat these congregations with Cypermethrin for quick control. If they have already established themselves inside, you will need to treat outside populations with cypermethrin, exterior wall cracks with Drione Dust and interior entrance cracks with PT Phantom. This practical approach will stop new infestations, force them away from your beneficial trees and shrubs in your yard and keep your home from becoming their winter play ground.
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