Box Elder Bugs

These little bugs do not harm turf but they can be a real nuisance, especially if you are trying to enjoy a nice fall day outside and these critters buzz you, crawl on you, and invade your living space. My wife would try to kill them with soapy water but that usually would not control very well, she said the soapy water treatment would just make them clean.

These little bugs can be a real pain to control, which it is why it’s important to know what they feed on and their life cycle. Female box elder bugs overwinter and lay eggs in crevices of box elder, maple, and ash trees. Egg laying typically starts around the time box elder trees start to break leaf buds.  Once the eggs are laid they take about 14 days to hatch. The eggs are straw yellow in color and turn red as the embryo develops inside. The eggs hatch into their first stage called the nymph stage. In this stage they have not yet developed black wings and are mainly red in color.

(Nymph Stage)

Controlling box elder bugs can be tough, but knowing the targeted trees are box elder, maples, and ash trees you can treat the tree bark and canopy throughout the summer to help reduce the populations.  Chances are you will not get them all because these bugs can cover quite a distance to find the nice warm surface of your house. Once they have found your home as a good resting place you can apply a pyrethroid pesticides to your homes siding, foundation and any crevices where the bugs will want to spend the night. I have also found mixing a citrus essential oil with my pesticides are helpful in keeping these box elder bugs and stink bugs out of your house. This is good news for your ladies that are looking for an excuse to buy more essential oil products.