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.
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.