Why You Are Still Seeing Boxelder Bugs In Knoxville During The Winter

Why You Are Still Seeing Boxelder Bugs In Knoxville During The Winter

 

Winter in Tennessee is upon us, and the unsuspecting homeowner might assume that the cold weather means a reprieve from having to worry about pests invading their home. Well, think again. Winter can still provide warm enough days for insects and other pests to seek shelter from the cold weather. That means they inevitably will look for ways into your home, where warmth is assured and food sources more plentiful.

A Common Winter Pest: Boxelder Bugs

One winter-time insect that’s caused the residents of Knoxville grief for decades is the boxelder bug. These black, beetle-like creatures are flat and ovular, with reddish-brown patterns on their backs. They have six legs and long antennae that often splay out from the tops of their heads. The adults have flatter bodies and small, narrow heads and can grow up to a half-inch in size while the nymphs are smaller and lack the wings that adults have. They are often bright red or orange.

Boxelder Bug Behavior

Boxelder bugs find strength in numbers, congregating in large groups to share and conserve body heat. You may find them around your home on winter days, looking for a way indoors and biding their time until they’ve got the numbers to push through cracks or holes in window screens. Once inside, they will flock to places where they can take advantage of pockets of heat. Within walls, underneath rugs and furniture are common places to see clumps of them. They are also attracted to central heating systems.

The Problems With A Pest Infestation

While boxelder bugs aren’t harmful to humans and don’t bite or transmit diseases, they can cause some serious damage to property. Outdoors, they can chew through foliage in huge numbers, stripping trees and bushes that you pride yourself on in the spring and summer. While they are looking for a way indoors, boxelder bugs clump in the cracks of patios and porches, eroding or damaging the wood with their excrement.

Indoors, boxelder bugs leave behind reddish-colored waste that is odorous and can cause damage to wooden walls and flooring, not to mention staining furniture or fabrics in the home. Since they’re looking for warmth, these bugs often make it into vents and electrical systems, which can gunk up the mechanics, not to mention help spread their foul odor around.

Prevention Tips For Tennessee Homeowners

There are some things you can do to prevent boxelder bugs from invading:

  • Seal up cracks in the walls, floors, and foundations of your home to protect against many pests.
  • Replace faulty or damaged window screens.
  • Keep trees, bushes, and other landscaping trimmed back away from your house. Trim fronds and limbs back to keep them away from windows and doors, since these are common areas for bugs to enter.

Professional Solutions

Once an infestation has broken out in the home, it’s often difficult to fully eradicate. Since these bugs are experts at hiding out in hard to reach nooks and crannies, the best option is to enlist the help of professionals.

At Russell’s Pest Control, we are experts at eliminating pests of all shapes and sizes and have been doing it since 1971. We know how to root out and eliminate boxelder bugs. Our residential services include inspection, eradication, and protection. We will help you every step of the way and do everything we can to help guard your home against future pests when we leave. Call us today before your pest problems get out of hand.

Stop Boxelder Bugs From Staying In Your Knoxville Walls All Winter

Stop Boxelder Bugs From Staying In Your Knoxville Walls All Winter

With the sun setting a bit earlier every evening and the temperature getting ever cooler, winter is settling into Knoxville. If you’re like most people, you’re probably busy with holiday preparations. Unfortunately, while you deck the halls, it’s very possible that boxelder bugs are hiding in the walls. Here’s what you need to know to stop them.

What Boxelder Bugs Look Like

Boxelder bugs have long, flat, oval-shaped bodies and small heads. They are black with reddish-orange markings. Growing to about the length of a dime, boxelder bugs have six legs and two long antennae.

What Attracts Boxelder Bugs Homes

Boxelder bugs spend the hot summer months outdoors. When fall arrives and the temperatures start to get cooler, they make their way to south-facing walls and congregate together in the sun. Over time, they find their way inside Knoxville homes through small cracks and crevices. They then spend the coldest months of the year overwintering inside wall voids and other areas.

When Boxelder Bugs are Active in Your Knoxville Home

Although you often won’t see boxelder bugs in your Knoxville home in the winter, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Typically they come out in early spring when the weather gets warm in order to return to their host trees outdoors.

However, many people discover they have a boxelder bug problem in mid-winter. Within the warm confines of your walls, boxelder bugs can sometimes be tricked on an unseasonably warm day into thinking that it’s time to come out of hiding. If you suddenly start seeing boxelder bugs congregating near your windows in the middle of winter, it means that they think it’s spring. It also means that you are likely to have problems with these pests for months to come. If they can’t find their way outside, they’ll search your house for food and water.

What to Do if Boxelder Bugs Get in Your Knoxville Home

The first thing to do if you discover boxelder bugs in your home is to take a deep breath. The good news is that boxelder bugs are not dangerous. They can leave reddish stains on your furniture or curtains with their fecal matter and they give off an unpleasant odor when squashed, but they won’t hurt you.

But you can’t simply leave it at that. No one wants to deal with pesky bugs all the time and if any of them end up dying in your wall voids, they could attract other pests, which will lead to bigger problems.

There are some steps you can take to get rid of the bugs you see in your house and to prevent future infestations.

  • Vacuum up the boxelder bugs that you find in your house. This will help you avoid the smell of squashing them. Make sure to remove the vacuum bag from the vacuum and from your house when you’re done so that they don’t escape.
  • Seal up any openings you can find inside your house. Look for cracks or gaps in your walls and baseboards, window and door frames, etc.
  • Seal openings around the outside of your house, including cracks, gaps, crevices, and holes in your siding, foundation, windows, and doors.
  • Call the professionals at Russell’s Pest Control. We can eliminate your boxelder bug problem completely, while ensuring that the elimination process will not cause future pest problems.Don’t spend your winter battling boxelder bugs. Contact Russell’s Pest Control and let us take care of the problem for you.

Boxelder Bugs: A Major Nuisance For Knoxville Residents

Boxelder Bugs: A Major Nuisance For Knoxville Residents

Are you seeing black and orange insects crawling all over your deck or grouping together on the sides of your Knoxville home? Are they about ½ an inch long with long antennae and a flattened, sort of cockroach-like, appearance? Are they appearing by the hundreds or thousands? You probably have a boxelder bug problem. If this is something new for you, we have a few tips to help you out. If this is something you deal with every year, you may still find a few ideas here that you haven’t thought of.

1. Exclusion

This is a fairly straightforward tip and you’re probably already aware that you need to seal entry points to keep these insects out. What you might not know are some of the common ways they get in.

  • Gaps around pipes.
  • Gaps around air conditioning units.
  • Unprotected vents or weep holes.
  • Damaged siding.
  • Holes in soffits, eaves or rooflines.
  • Holes created by wood-damaging insects that feed on the sole plates of your home.
  • Holes around roof penetrations, caused by raccoons, squirrels, roof rats and other animals.
  • Gaps in weatherstripping around exterior doors.
  • Damaged or missing screens on doors and windows.
  • Openings around the outside of door and window frames. These can give boxelder bugs direct access to your wall voids.
  • Cracks in foundation walls, especially around windows.
  • Gaps around wire conduit.

By inspecting these areas and sealing any entry point you see, you can deter boxelder bugs. Silicone Caulk, expansion foam, wire mesh and foundation repair kits are great tools for getting this hard job done.

2. Reduce Moisture

A dry perimeter is a boxelder bug-resistant perimeter. Everything you do to reduce moisture around your home can have an impact on how attractive your home is to boxelder bugs. Make sure your gutters are cleaned and in good working order. Make sure to trim tree branches to allow sunlight into densely shaded areas. And address any conditions that promote the collection of rainwater near your home.

3. Vegetation

The more vegetation you have around your home, the more interesting your home will be to boxelder bugs. Reducing unwanted vegetation and keeping everything neat and trim can reduce the allure of your yard.

4. Warmth

A home that has lots of Southern and Western sun exposure gives boxelder bugs a big target during the fall. These insects usually sun themselves on rocks to stay warm. If you give them a big, warm surface to congregate on, they’ll take you up on the offer. You can reduce this by planting trees and increasing shade. This is sort of the opposite of our last tip. But, when you strike the right balance, you can reduce high moisture and provide the right shade to make your home more resistant.

5. Removal

If boxelder bugs get into your home, they’re going to be climbing in your curtains, clinging to your walls and basically making a nuisance of themselves. Fortunately, they can’t easily find suitable food sources inside your home and they will slow down as winter progress. If you don’t want to wait for that to happen, your vacuum cleaner is the best tool for getting rid of boxelder bugs.

Professional Assistance

If it sounds like a lot of work and trouble to protect your home from Knoxville boxelder bugs, we offer another solution. The licensed pest professionals here at Russell’s Pest Control can help you get a pest control program in place that will give your exterior a barrier that will repel and eliminate boxelder bugs. Reach out to us today and request a free, no-obligation home pest control estimate. We can help you make boxelder bug problems a thing of the past.

Tips To Avoid Boxelder Bugs This Fall

Tips To Avoid Boxelder Bugs This Fall

Boxelder bugs are a common pest in Tennessee, especially in the fall. They begin to look for a place to call home over the colder months. As winter approaches they will congregate on warm, sunny sides of homes, then wiggle through gaps and cracks in siding, and around windows and doors.

Boxelder bugs are about 1/2” in length, are black and have red stripes on their body and edge of its wings making V shapes. They are mostly attracted to boxelder trees, and silver maples, where they feed off of the moisture from the trees. In the fall when they make their way into your home, they may look for moisture in your houseplants, but they are not a danger to them or humans. The only real damage they can cause is if there is a high population of them, otherwise, they are considered a nuisance pest. The biggest problem is, boxelder bugs can get into your furniture and drapes, where their feces can cause staining.

As with any pest, once they get into your home, they are hard to remove. Prevention is the best way to avoid a boxelder bug infestation. Here are a few prevention tips that you may find useful:

  • Inspect your home for openings like crevices, gaps, and cracks

  • Seal those openings with caulking

  • Repair or replace any damaged screens or vents

  • Fill in gaps around utility lines, cables, cords, and pipes

  • If you have any boxelder or silver maple trees you may want to consider removing them from your yard, but that can be costly and not very practical

If your home is already infested you will need to remove these pests. Try vacuuming them up with a long vacuum hose or sweep up the dead bug remains. Smooshing a boxelder bug can stain surfaces, so you may want to avoid that.

Russell’s Pest Control in Knoxville and Eastern Tennessee offers year-round pest prevention so that you don’t have to worry about pests, ever again. We have a variety of pest control programs to choose from that can control and prevent infestations in your home.

Our Power program protects your family, pets, and home from 30+ common pests and has a pest-free guarantee. Additionally, our Power Gold program includes termite service and our Power Plus includes mosquito, carpenter bee, fire ant, flea and tick services. If you want it all, then our Power Platinum program is for you. We have something for everyone to suit your needs and your budget. Just give us a call today at Russell Pest Control in Tennessee, so that your home can be pest free.