Now that spring has spread across the country, we think it’s time to talk about Boxelder Bugs.
To be fair, these elongated flat bugs with their red or orange markings are a more prevalent problem for our neighbors to the North. But they do still show up in Florida.
Boxelder bugs draw their name from the fact that they are usually found swarming around Maple, Boxelder, and Ash trees. The seeds of those conifers are their primary source of food. In northern climes they’re more of a problem as things get chillier. The insects cluster together to stay warm and often do so inside warmer places – like homes and garages – where they hibernate.
Unlike so many other nuisance insects, Boisea trivittata are actually native to the United States. They moved with the trees from the western US throughout the country and even into Eastern Canada.
Boxelder bugs don’t generally bite humans, even in self-defense. However, their piercing-sucking mouthparts can sometimes puncture skin if you pick them up, leaving a small, red mark much like a mosquito bite. If you crush them, they may produce a strong, nasty odor. In fact, if they’re discovered in your home, it’s recommended that you leave them hibernating. If you must remove them, vacuum them up and then discard the vacuum cleaner bag.
Marking Things Up
The most annoying aspect of these insects is the reddish orange stains left by their fecal matter. In this respect, they are similar to their cousin, the golden rain tree bug, which is much more common in the Sunshine state.
The Jadera haematoloma are very similar to the boxelder bugs, although their bright colored markings tend to be larger. As the name suggests, these insects spend their days around golden rain trees. They also love the chinaberry and balloonvines we see across Southern Florida. Stains on your clothing can appear from accidentally brushing up against the crushed bugs.
The easiest way to control outdoor clusters of both the boxelder and the golden rain tree bugs is by eliminating their food supply. Shaking the seeds off the trees will cause the bugs to follow. Just be aware that you may still crush some underfoot.
Since they’re not really harmful to humans or animals, you can also be content to live and let live. And if you’ve got an infestation in your home, which, again, is rare in Florida, call an expert to deal with it. Sealing or fixing any holes in screens, cracks, or crevices works well as a preventative measure.
In fact, treating those entry points is part of our most popular solution here at Good News Pest Solutions. Go Green Perimeter Plus protects your home year-round from the most rampant insects on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and for an affordable price. If you’d like to learn more from one of our highly-trained specialists, or to schedule your first appointment, just give us a call!