How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bug on siding at Russell's Pest Control in Knoxville TN

Every fall in Knoxville, one of the most common household pests we get calls for here at Russell’s is none other than the boxelder bug. These small red and black bugs are infamous for congregating on the sides of homes this time of year. When populations are large, they may even make their way into your property through tiny cracks and crevices. And while these bugs aren’t considered terribly dangerous, they are a nuisance nonetheless—if they do get indoors, they’ll likely look to stay with you through the holiday season. To learn how to keep boxelder bugs away for good, keep reading to learn everything you need to know with the experts at Russell’s Pest Control!

What to Know About Boxelder Bugs

These insects may look scary with their bold red markings, but it’s important to educate yourself about these potential pests that are, for the most part, pretty harmless.

  1. Boxelder bugs first emerge in late March or early April when the buds on a boxelder tree start to open. The adults will spend the warmer months in the host tree, feeding on fallen seeds before moving to seed-bearing boxelder trees or maple trees to eat new leaves.
  2. Females will lay eggs on stones, grass, shrubs, or in the crevices of boxelder trees. Once hatched, the nymphs will also feed on fallen seeds and new leaves.
  3. As the season shifts into fall, boxelder bugs will gather in the dozens to seek out sunny, warm spots on greenery or houses before migrating to nearby properties to overwinter. This is why fall is when people begin to notice these bugs more often.


Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

Boxelder bugs are not particularly threatening to humans and tend to leave your cats and dogs alone. They also rarely cause damage when they’re inside homes. That said, their feces are known to stain any light-colored material, such as curtains, clothing, or rugs in your home. Like several other pests, they will emit a strong unpleasant odor if squished or crushed. But do bed bugs bite? It’s rare. If and when boxelder bugs bite people, humans may experience slight irritation and redness, but they do not transmit diseases.

Tips to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs Naturally

To get rid of these pests naturally, the key is to prevent them in the first place by making your property impenetrable. Basic boxelder bug prevention tips include:

  1. Trimming back trees and bushes to keep all vegetation away from the perimeter of the home.
  2. Cleaning and repairing the corners of fences, decorative rocks, old piles of wood, and patio furniture.
  3. Replacing torn screens on windows and doors.
  4. Checking the caulk around the molding of the windows and vents.
  5. Repairing any cracks in stucco and bricks.
  6. Sealing up cracks around roof soffits, windows, siding, and foundation.

Fall Insect Control With Russell’s Pest Control

If you’ve done all you can to keep these fall pests out and still are noticing the little red-and-black bugs around your windows or curtains, the experts at Russell’s Pest Control can help. Our exterminators work to eliminate the conditions that let these pests indoors to begin with. To get started, contact us today!

Is TAP Insulation Better Than Regular Insulation?

TAP Insulation in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Home insulation is important to keep your property at your desired temperature and to aid in noise reduction. But what if your insulation could also prevent pest problems common in Knoxville households? That’s where TAP® Insulation comes into play. This environmentally-friendly home insulation option is superior to traditional insulation in several ways. Not only does it outperform other options, but TAP Insulation is also renowned for its pest-resistant properties. If you’re thinking of upgrading your existing insulation, TAP Insulation comes highly recommended by the pest control pros at Russell’s Pest Control. Read on to learn why!

Why Choose TAP Insulation?

As it becomes a more popular choice over the years, it’s increasingly apparent that TAP Insulation is the best option on the market. This is because in addition to its pest control properties, TAP simply outperforms traditional insulation options. Some of the many benefits of this insulation are:

  • As an energy-efficient option, TAP can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 30%.
  • TAP is environmentally friendly by using recycled paper diverted from landfills to create the product.
  • This insulation is capable of filling the nooks and crannies that are unreachable with traditional insulation.
  • TAP Insulation is the only insulation registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • More cost-effective than traditional insulation, TAP is a one-time investment with no need for re-treatments.
  • TAP can be installed over existing insulation and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Does TAP Prevent Pests?

Yes! TAP is known for its ability to ward off pest problems. This is because the insulation is infused with borate, which affects the metabolism of insects and eliminates them. There are many pests that can be controlled with TAP Insulation. They include ants, cockroaches, earwigs, centipedes, darkling beetles, crickets, silverfish, millipedes, firebrats, dermestids, sowbugs, lady beetles, booklice, termites (including Formosan termites), boxelder bugs, stink bugs, kudzu bugs, bat bugs, pillbugs, snails, wildlife, and slugs!

TAP Pest Control Insulation in Knoxville

If you’re interested in upgrading your home insulation, TAP is for you! In addition to outperforming other insulation types, TAP will work to create a barrier against pests. Russell’s is proud to be a licensed installer of TAP—contact us today to set up an appointment or to learn more.

Why Is Winter Pest Control Important? [2021 Update]

Why Is Winter Pest Control Important? - Russell's Pest Control in Knoxville TN

It happens time and time again. The moment some homeowners close windows and doors for the season, they think they are finally in the clear from ants, mosquitoes, and spiders for the year. During the summer months, these are some of the most common pests that we try to keep out. With the changing of the seasons in the fall and winter, many homeowners neglect to protect their home against pests that are common this time of year. Then, just a month or two later, their family could be spending their time wondering where that strange smell inside their home is coming from. Rodents, raccoons, and boxelder bugs are just a few pests known to make themselves at home in the wintertime with your family. For this reason, it’s crucial to invest in winter pest control.

Winter Pest Problems in Knoxville

There are several reasons that pest control is just as important in the winter as it is during the rest of the year. Pests do not take the season off, especially if they are already inside your home when the cold weather begins. A nice, warm house is a great spot for most pests to flourish no matter what the season is, and it is much easier for them to get in than it is for you to get them out. The main pest problems we face in the winter include:

  1. Overwintering bugs, such as the lady beetle or the boxelder bugs, are looking for a warm place to wait out winter and will gather by the hundreds inside your walls. They may slip out come spring leaving the homeowner none the wiser, but when this many bugs gather, it stands to reason that they will not all make it until April. This leaves behind a huge green light for other pests that might be looking for an easy meal to come in.
  2. Other pests like cockroaches and rodents also will look for warmer pastures in the winter. These types of pests naturally live where people do. This is because we often inadvertently provide some of the greatest sources of their basic necessities. Unfortunately, they bring with them a host of bacteria and disease that they will leave everywhere they go. They eat from our kitchen pantries and trashcans, they drink from faucets and pet dishes, and they rest in the walls, basements, and crawl spaces. Unlike hibernating pests, roaches, mice, and rats will nest and breed all year long right under your nose.

Trusted Winter Pest Control Services

It doesn’t take long for an infestation to spin out of control, even in winter. Whether there are boxelder bugs in your walls, or mice living in the basement, you need to protect your family and your home from the damaging effects of pests. For over 45 years Russell’s Pest Control has been a leader in the battle against unwanted pests using the latest technology in safe and effective pest removal. To learn how we can keep you safe from winter pest problems, contact our residential pest control experts today!

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.

Overwintering Pests Are On The Move: Boxelder Bugs In East Tennessee

Fall is on the way! I’m not rushing along this beautiful weather, but the chilly mornings and evenings that we’re experiencing are a reminder that cool weather is not so far away. That also means that our fall and winter pests are coming into season. So, it is now time for your annual reminder about overwintering pests. This time, we’ll take a closer look at the boxelder bug, a fall pest that can cause trouble for Knoxville home and business owners.

Much of this article may sound like old hat to you if you’ve seen our ladybug or stink bug articles in the past. However, in case you’re just joining us, let’s briefly go over the trademarks of an overwintering pest. Overwintering pests like ladybugs, stink bugs, and boxelder bugs spend most of their lives feeding on plant matter in your yard. Many insects are truly spring and summer creatures, meaning that they may largely die out in the cooler months. However, overwintering pests survive the cold weather by moving somewhere warm and comfortable where they can hibernate until spring. Yep, you guessed it: That warm and comfortable location is often someone’s home! Overwintering pests will swarm into buildings by the hundreds. Unfortunately, the homeowner may not even know the pests are there until it is too late. Boxelders and their cousins generally hide in the attic or wall voids as soon as they move into the house; homeowners may not know about the problem until the spring when the pests wake up and get lost on their way back outside.

Now that we’re having some cool mornings, you may be seeing boxelder bugs around your house without knowing what they are. These insects can be identified by their distinct coloring, which changes drastically over their lifetimes. Young boxelders are solid, bright red and are very eye-catching (though they hardly resemble the adult form at this stage). As they age, they get wider bodies, develop wings, and begin to turn from red to grayish black. By the time they are fully mature, they are flat and gray, but they retain red markings on their wings, usually in the shape of an “X.”

Like ladybugs, boxelder bugs will bite if handled. The bite may seem surprisingly sharp, but it has no real effects or dangers for humans. However, like most overwintering pests, they can stain fabrics or paint with their feces. If you smash them, they will likely leave a stain and will also put off an unpleasant odor (much like the infamous stink bug).

You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have any boxelder trees, so I won’t have a problem with these pests.” That is good news that may help to decrease your risk. Unfortunately, their other favorite food source is maple trees; let’s face it, East Tennessee is absolutely covered with those. One quick way to see if you may have a boxelder bug problem is to go outside to your south and west walls in the mid-morning or early afternoon when the sun is just starting to warm up. There is a good chance that you might find some of these pests soaking up heat by basking on your walls. If they are there now, it’s quite likely that they will be wriggling their way through cracks and into the house before long.

The best way to stop them from getting inside is to seal up all of those cracks. Enjoy the outdoors while walking around your house with some caulk and weather stripping. If boxelder bugs can’t find any openings, they won’t be attracted to your house. If you know overwintering pests are a problem at your home (or if you don’t want to take any chances), give us a call or contact Russell’s Pest Control here. Our technicians perform very thorough treatments that can make the boxelder bugs, ladybugs, and stink bugs think twice before setting up housekeeping in your home.