If the building that houses our radio stations is any indicator, our area is being invaded once again by that bug that most people don't know much about. The Box Elder Bug.

Riley O'Neil, Townsquare Media
Riley O'Neil, Townsquare Media

I just snapped a shot of these guys hanging around Joe Dredge's office window. They're actually all over everyone's windows in our building. They're also inside our offices, filling up the overhead lights, dropping into unsuspecting coffee cups, etc. Some of our co-workers are actually afraid of them, not wanting to be stung (they don't sting) or bitten (they don't do that, either). Most of us just want them to move on.

So, what are Box Elder bugs, and what's their deal? I turned to the experts at SouthernPestControl for the lowdown:

  • Adult Box Elder bugs may grow to about 1/2 inch in length.
  • Box Elder bugs are bright red or black with narrow reddish lines on the back.
  • Box Elder bugs’ wings lay flat over their bodies, overlapping each other to form an ‘X’
  • During the spring and early summer, adult Box Elder bugs feed on low vegetation and seeds on the ground. Box Elder bugs may also feed on maple or ash trees.
  • Box Elder bugs sometimes invade houses and other man-made structures seeking warmth or a place to hibernate.
  • Box Elder bugs remain inactive inside the walls (and behind siding) while the weather is cool. Warmth from heating systems revive them, falsely perceiving it to be springtime and enter buildings in search of food and water.
  • Starting in mid‑summer, Box Elder bugs move to female seed-bearing Box Elder trees where they lay eggs on trunks, branches, and leaves. They are rarely found on male Box Elder trees.
  • They cannot or do not bite people.
  • Their poop can stain walls and furniture.
  • They do not reproduce inside homes, only outside.

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