What are box elder bugs?
Box elder bugs are a very common pest around the Washington DC area. As adults, these structure invading pests are typically 1/2 an inch in length and black in color with red rimmed wings. As juveniles, they are much smaller, rounder and exhibit a more distinctive red color than the adult.
Their main source of food is the reason they get their name – the box elder tree . They are also found on ash trees, maple trees, cherry trees and a variety of other seed-bearing plants. They feed by sucking sap from the leaves, shoots and seeds of the host plant. Box elder bugs seldom cause significant damage. They become a nuisance pest when they overwinter in large numbers in homes, buildings and other structures.
Why do I have them?
If you grow box elder, maple, or ash trees on your property you are a likely target for a box elder bug infestation. Even property adjacent to your's or in your neighborhood could draw these pests to your home. The box elder bug is much less likely to become an interior pest problem during the spring and summer months.
That's because they are out-and-about searching for food. But as the air temperature cools, they begin to look for shelter for the winter. Any place that can provide a southerly or westerly exposure is ideal for box elder bugs. As they look for shelter to weather the storms of winter, they'll search for cracks and crevices. Also small spaces behind siding and other sheltered spots are ideal for these insects.