True bugs are a type of bug that has piercing-sucking mouthparts. There are millions of species in this grouping and they include cicadas, aphids and even bed bugs. They use these mouthparts to drain plants or animals of their vital fluids. In the case of plants, this is their liquid chlorophyll which is what gives plants their green appearance and in the case of humans its blood. Bed bugs for instance drain blood from mammals using similar mouth parts as an aphid would drain a tree’s leaf of liquid chlorophyll. The true bug also has these mouth parts and while they do not drain blood they are exceptionally good at killing plants. They mainly attack trees and their leaves which can be a serious issue for residential properties that have valuable trees on them.
Box elder bugs
Box elder bugs are a common sight in Ontario. They are often brightly coloured both on the outside and on the inside. Their insides are so brightly coloured that they can stain fabric and surfaces so if you have a box elder bug in the house don’t squash it because the stain they cause can never be washed out. They can produce a stink bug smell when they are upset and this smell also appears when they are crushed so there are many reasons not to kill them in that way. The box elder bug is not dangerous to humans, they are not poisonous if accidentally eaten and they do not attack humans in any way other than to annoy them. They cannot hurt you.
Box elder bug life cycle
The box elder bug has two periods of reproduction in a single year. The first is in the early spring when the bugs are busy draining plants and trees of their liquid chlorophyll. They are not going to bother you in this specific reproductive phase. However, they have a second reproductive phase in the late summer which results in a whole new population that will suckle on plants for as long as they can and then will have to find a warm place to hide during the winter. They do not go to sleep in this winter time they do something called overwintering where they either fly somewhere warmer or try to find a warm place to live. Since human homes are heated in the winter this is where they usually try to live in this period.
Box elder bug infestation
This is what causes box elder bugs to become a serious infestation issue. They will cling to the side of homes and will try to get in through window and door frames, weep vents and other accessible entryways like wall vents. They will infest the inside of your home and cause serious issues with your ability to live in it.
Box elder bug commercial treatment
You can try using domestic treatments to get rid of them or to stop them from entering the home. Vinegar is effective for this, but if the issue is severe and your treatment isn’t working you will need to bring out the big guns. This is calling a commercially licensed exterminator to come to the home and do an exterior spray of the house in the late summer. This spray is a powerful pesticide that will kill the box elder bugs as they try to enter your home.