The story is all too familiar: you’ve spent the entire first weekend of summer at Stumptown Coffee, finally enjoying the sun peeking its head through the clouds of the Pacific Northwest. Each day you arrive back at a beautiful home, your palace gently bathed in sunlight. This summer is going to be great!
Then one day it happens. You step up to your front door, and all you can see is black and red. Where there was a porch, there are bugs. Where there was a door, more bugs. There used to be a handle, window frames, and a beautiful wood banister you just had installed. These red and black pests have invaded!
Who Are These Guys?
Box elder bugs need plants to munch on, and they’re famous for invading your home as long as there is food nearby. If your house has any foliage surrounding it, especially the delicious box elder tree, they don’t mind hanging out on the front steps for the whole summer until their stomachs are full. But don’t worry about that, they never finish eating, and they love keeping you company!
Why Did They Choose Your Home?
They most likely didn’t come to your house because of your delicious Tillamook cheddar. No, there’s something else about your home that they love – usually it’s houses bathed in sunlight, and homes with easy access to the outdoors.
Box elders are infamous for finding warm, sheltered areas to keep cozy until the warmer months arrive. Often times this means your garage, attic, porch, or anywhere that’s heated where they can snuggle up together.
Allowing the box elder beetles an entrance into your home is a big concern as well. While you might not think you sent out an invitation, any unsealed entrances can be a wide-open space for a box elder bug. Even the smallest of cracks can look like a welcome mat for a box elder bug. They especially like the inside of your curtains. They love to leave red poop bombs that leave a red stain when you try to clean them up.
Don’t Worry – You Can Fix This!
The first step is management of the problem. Whatever you do, do not squash them! Not only will this leave you with a mess to clean up, but these bugs are known for leaving a parting stench that will test even the strongest of stomachs. Instead, grab a hand vacuum and try to collect as many as possible. Hire a professional exterminator in the meantime.
There are a few steps to prevent future home invasions. First, make sure that all windows, screens, and doors are properly sealed. Kitchen and bathroom fans, dryer vents, holes for utility cables, and any other pathway to the outside can all act as entrances. Seal ‘em up!
If you’re not sure about proper sealing, consider asking your professional exterminator for suggestions or help. They can get rid of this problem quickly so you’ll no longer be seeing red (and black).