The Halloween Bug: Boxelders
How better to celebrate the season than to talk about the Halloween bug? So called because of its increased presence this time of year and its orange-black coloring, these insects are largely harmless but can be considered pests.
All About BoxeldersBoxelder bugs are small, beetle-like insects that are prevalent across much of North America. Though they are sometimes called Halloween bugs, they go by boxelders more frequently. They get their name because they frequently make their homes in boxelder trees.
Boxelders are usually about half an inch in length as adults. They are black or dark brown in color, with bright orange highlights. Their pattern helps them blend in easily on trees during the fall months.
Boxelders as PestsThese insects are known to feed on seeds and plant material, and may damage your foliage or garden. However, they are not major agricultural nuisances. Instead, they become pesky simply because of their large numbers and tendency to swarm. They will sometimes take over a yard, and will try to move in to your home if the opportunity presents itself. This is especially true during the fall, when the weather is cold and food is scarce. Like many other pests, boxelders will be attracted to the warmth and shelter of your home.
Dealing with BoxeldersLuckily, boxelders don’t rank especially high on the pest removal difficulty scale. Your first steps should be preventative. Clear away clutter and vegetation near your home, and seal up possible entry points. Look for gaps in your walls, foundation, and roof and block them up. If you do come across boxelders, you should avoid stepping on them; they secrete a foul-smelling odor when crushed. Instead, most standard pesticide sprays meant for beetles and roaches will work just fine. Keep your home free of clutter so they have nowhere to hide.
Have a Happy—and bug-free—Halloween!