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Box elder bugs are a very common pest around the Washington DC area. As adults, these structure invading pests are typically 1/2 an inch in length and black in color with red rimmed wings. As juveniles, they are much smaller, rounder and exhibit a more distinctive red color than the adult. Their main source of food is the reason they get their name – the box elder tree – although they can also be found on ash trees, maple trees, cherry trees and a variety of other seed-bearing plants. They feed by sucking sap from the leaves, shoots and seeds of the host plant. Although box elder bugs seldom cause significant damage, they become a nuisance pest when they overwinter in large numbers in homes, buildings and other structures.
Box elder bugs are attracted to one of many sources of food. If you grow box elder, maple, or ash trees on your property, adjacent to, or in your neighborhood, you are a likely target for a box elder bug infestation. In the spring and summer, the box elder bug is much less likely to become an interior pest problem as they are out-and-about, searching for food. But as the air temperature cools, they begin to look for shelter for the winter. Any place that can provide a southerly or westerly exposure is ideal for box elder bugs as they look to weather the storms of winter, but typically they like cracks and crevices, small spaces behind siding and other sheltered spots.
Generally, no. Although they have been known to bite (using the small mouth parts they use for extracting juices when they feed), the bite should cause no more than minor irritation. It is when the bugs mass together to hibernate that they begin to cause problems in homes and buildings. Even during the coldest winter months, they can emerge inside if the sun is out and the temperature rises slightly.
American Pest is your best option to get rid of your box elder bug problem. Due to the many types of locations box elder bugs choose to hibernate (eg. behind siding, window frames, wall voids, etc.) it can be very difficult to locate and remove them, something our pest control professionals are trained to do. If you have a problem with box elder bugs in Baltimore, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Maryland or Northern VA, your best bet is to contact American Pest right away.
A do-it-yourself approach to removing box elder bugs should be approached with caution, especially if pesticides are used as they can be harmful or deadly to humans and pets if used incorrectly. American Pest home inspectors and technicians are trained in the application of pesticides and can best decide when and if they should be used.
We pride ourselves on our service to you, the customer, and will do our very best to be with you the same or very next day.
Every product in the American Pest arsenal has been registered by the EPA and approved for pest control use. Our highly trained pest control professionals then follow a strict set of guidelines in its application to ensure that no harm comes to humans or pets.
Preventing box elder bugs can be difficult, but a number of measures can be taken to minimize the risk of a large number of hibernating bugs invading your property. Make sure all gaps, cracks and crevices around your property are filled and that any spaces around eaves, siding, doors and windows are sealed.