Box elder bugs are a member of a family of insects including bed bugs, aphids and cicadas that have piercing-sucking mouthparts. These insets drain plants or animals of their vital fluids in order to survive and reproduce. For instance, a bed bug cannot grow to adulthood or reproduce without a blood meal at each stage of their transformations. Aphids and cicadas drink liquid chlorophyll from plants like grass, trees and plants humans eat like crops of corn and wheat and other plants that are rich in chlorophyll.
Box elder bugs
The box elder bug tends to drain this liquid from tree leaves causing the trees themselves to die. This can be a serious issue on your property and precious trees in forests. They can be a serious issue for arborists and plant collectors both on residential properties and professional greenhouses and can cause some serious damage to trees and other plants.
Box elder bug life cycle
The box elder bug life cycle starts in the early spring where box elder bugs from the last season lay eggs on leaves. Due to their bright colours, the eggs are green, red and blue and can hide on plant leaves which gives them an advantage against birds and other predators that may eat them. If you have ever seen weird bumps like balls on a leave those are box elder bug eggs. The egg hatches into a nymph which is a tiny box elder bug that must go through a moulting process where they grow large and gain wings. They then become adults. The reproductive phase happens twice a year. The early spring is when they focus on drinking the chlorophyll and preparing for the second phase when they lay eggs in the summer and the second wave is born in the early fall.
Are Box elder bugs dangerous?
This is the stage where box elder bugs become a serious problem. This stage is born in the late fall and will drink what is left and then, as winter approaches, will need to survive the cold weather.
Normally they would fly south like birds to find a warmer ecology but since the advent of internal heating for human homes, they tend to stay in the cold weather ecology and try to get into human homes. This can be shocking even as they will cling to the side of your home and try to get inside.
Box elder bug treatment
The only way to prevent this infestation is to get an exterior treatment of your home in the late summer. This will prevent them from landing on your walls and getting inside the house. If you already have them in your house you can get an exterior and interior treatment that will kill them both on the outside and the inside. This is the most effective way of stopping or treating box elder bugs when they try to use your home for overwintering,