Temperatures are cooling and it seems as though door frames, windows, and unfortunately, the interior of many buildings are being over taken by boxelder bugs. If you’re looking tor strategies to deal with these pests, read on.

Boxelder bugs are about half an inch long with six legs, and are black with orange or red markings on their wings. They are usually found on boxelder trees, as well as maple and ash. They do not pose a threat to these trees, nor are they known to bite. They are generally considered to be harmless, although they can sometimes leave small stains.

They may not be harmful, but that doesn’t mean you want them inside with you. The reason we see boxelders inside is because in the fall they seek warmer spots — such as inside walls and behind siding — and typically become inactive until spring. However, moving into buildings may get them out of the elements, but it also means they are exposed to heat from the furnace, which signals them that spring has arrived. They become more active, seeking food and water, and thus can be seen all over your home, particularly near windows.

Your best line of defense is stopping them before they get into your home. Prevention includes replacing or repairing damaged window or door screens, as well as screens for bathroom or kitchen fans or vents. You can also install a rubber seal along the bottom of your garage doors, and seal areas where phone and cable lines or pipes enter your home, along with any cracks and crevices around doors and windows, with caulk or a silicon filler. You can also place insecticide around the areas where they have congregated before. Removing the tree or spraying it is likely to have no benefit because boxelders can fly up to two blocks.

If they are already inside, your best method of dealing with them is to sweep them up, placing them in a tied-off bag to contain them, or vacuum them up. In both instances, take the bag full of boxelder bugs outside of your home when done.

Source: University of Minnesota Extension.