Stink Bugs and Boxelder Bugs – Does Fall Drive Them Indoors?

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When the cooler weather of September and October draws near in Chicago, there are some pests which become especially persistent. Stink bugs and boxelder bugs are a common, widespread insect in Illinois and Indiana, and they seek shelter within homes and buildings when the season changes from summer to fall. While they’re not poisonous or dangerous, they can be a seriously irritating pest to deal with.

What Do Stink Bugs and Boxelder Bugs Look Like?

stink bugs in chicago illinois

Stink Bug

  • Stink Bugs: The most common of these bugs here in the US is the Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug), and the Acrosternum hilare (green stink bug). Their backs look like shields, and they can blend easily within foliage. If threatened, these bugs release an odor.
  • Boxelder Bugs: Boxelder bugs have red markings with deep brown bodies. They also release a strong odor when threatened. These bugs prefer to feed and live in boxelder, ash, and maple trees. They will also infest trees or plants with plums, grapes, pears, peaches, cherries, apples, and almonds.

Why Do Stink Bugs and Boxelders Come Inside?

Like many insects, these bugs seek shelter and food for the coming winter months. As the weather turns colder, these bugs will take advantage of any available crack and crevice in your home’s exterior to gain access to the warmth of your home. Both adult stink and boxelder bugs will search for cracks and holes in walls, in window trim and molding, and in your foundation.

The real problem with these bugs is their stink–if you’ve ever smelled one, you know just how bad it can be. One or two stink bugs, every once and a while, is not that big of a problem. But imagine hundreds of stink or boxelders in your home–and imagine the stench! Even if you make it through the winter without a major stink bug problem, don’t ignore it for too long–if these bugs are evident in your home in the fall, they’ll multiply and emerge during spring, causing a far greater problem.

boxelder bugs chicago illinois

Boxelder Bugs

What Do Stink Bugs Eat?

Most stink and boxelder bugs feed on plants. The larva feeds on weeds and grasses, and as they grow into adulthood, they begin feeding on agricultural and garden staples. These bugs are a huge problem for farmers and gardeners because they will eat beans, pecans, corn, peppers, apples, berries, cotton, corn, and many other popular crops.

Stink bugs arrived from Asia in the 1980s, and have caused tremendous destruction of local crops. These bugs require diligent pest control, but they are not harmful to humans. They will however, multiply and feed without stopping, making them a serious environmental threat.

How to Prevent Stink Bugs

Prevention is the best way to make sure stink bugs and boxelder bugs stay away from your home and garden. Good pest control should always start with a thorough evaluation of the environment.

  1. Inspect your home and garden. Look for any signs of stink bug activity.
  2. Clean out any debris around the foundation of the house.
  3. Clean and repair the corners of fences, decorative rocks, old piles of wood, and patio furniture.
  4. Replace torn screens on windows and doors.
  5. Check the caulk around the molding of the windows and vents.
  6. Repair any cracks in stucco and bricks.
  7. Seal up cracks around roof soffits, windows, siding, and foundation.

Professional Help for Stink Bug Infestations

Sometimes no matter what you do as a homeowner, stink and boxelder bugs will be a problem. If you’re facing a serious infestation in the fall, it will get even worse in the spring. If you’d like to protect your home from stink and boxelder bugs, call Anderson Pest Solutions today!

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