Hello, and welcome back to the Ray Pest Control blog. You may have noticed an uptick in those odd, menacing-looking red and black bugs crawling all over your home—both outside and in. These little guys are known as the boxelder bug and are commonly found across North Carolina. While they aren’t harmful to humans, an infestation can be quite annoying, and for those who are squeamish, these little buggers can become an irritating nuisance. In our recent post, we looked at some effective ways for spider-proofing your home this fall. Unfortunately, spiders are not the only creepy crawlies who want to make your home their home. In today’s post, we will turn our attention to the boxelder to look at what exactly these bugs are and how you can protect your home from an infestation this fall. Please continue reading to learn more.   

How to Identify the Boxelder

By now, you have probably seen these elliptical-shaped bugs flying around your home, crawling up and down the exterior walls of your house, or near lights inside of your home. Boxelders are a flying insect that measures about 0.5 inches in length, with black bodies that usually have three bright red stripes. The red-lined areas of the bug’s thorax are the wings and the eyes are red, too. They have six lanky legs and two long black antennae.

Why Are They Active in the Fall?

Adult boxelders come out of hibernation in March and April and begin feeding on such delicacies as lilacs, oak, and geraniums for about two weeks before mating. Once they mate, these insects lay their eggs inside the crevices of trees and underneath bark. The eggs are deposited in small clusters of about 10 to 15 eggs; a female boxelder will lay a total of about 230 to 250 eggs. The eggs hatch within two weeks, and the nymphs begin their six phases of maturing to an adult. Nymphs are usually almost completely red, then turn gray, until they finally develop their nearly all-black tone. Boxelders are highly active between July and September and start looking for their winter homes in September and October. These insects love the warmth that the sun provides, so you’ll notice them especially on warmer fall days as they bask in the sun on south-facing trees.

How to Protect Your Home

As cooler temperatures set in over the Winston-Salem area, boxelders will seek warm homes for the winter months. Heaters, lights, and electronic devices scattered all throughout the home make the inside of a house particularly appealing for a place to wait out the colder temperatures. Here is how you can protect your home from boxelders this fall:

Seal Up Your Home

Inspect the entirety of your home for cracks through which boxelders can make their way into your home. Check near windows and screens, sealing any cracks around the windows and replacing any torn screens. Use silicone caulk to seal up cracks in the siding, and cover or repair any holes in the foundation.

Limit Hiding Places

Boxelders love hiding in piles of rocks, sticks, and other yard debris that can become warm from the sun’s rays. Remove all yard waste, including fallen leaves, weeds, and other debris that may have gotten caught in the garden. Limiting their hiding places is a good way to keep them from gathering in areas close to the home.

Turn Out the Lights

Keeping the porch light on at night provides most with a sense of safety, yet bugs like the boxelder are drawn to the warmth radiating from porch lights. Because of their close proximity to entryways into the home, boxelders will fly or crawl right into the home where they will find hiding places during the cold nights.

Call in the Experts

Even though boxelders are harmless to humans, an infestation means that these bugs may make their way into your closets, pantries, and personal space. While some sprays take care of your boxelder problem, your best bet is to call your local exterminator at Ray Pest Control. We will safely and effectively eliminate a boxelder infestation from your home. If you are tired of having these annoying insects crawling about inside and outside of your home, contact us today for a speedy fast quote!