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Strange Red and Black Bugs On My House!

Cyper WP

It's Back and Available in Water Soluble Packets for Safer Handling & Mixing.  

Excellent for the control of Box Elder Bugs

Cyper WP - Water Soluble Packets 


For most people, the boxelder bug needs no introduction. This bug is about 1/2 inch long as an adult, black with three red lines on the thorax (the part just behind the head), a red line along each side, and a diagonal red line on each wing. The immature forms are smaller and are easily distinguished from the adults by their red abdomens and lack of wings. Boxelder bugs become a nuisance in and around homes from fall through early spring.

Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest, annoying residents by crawling on exteriors and inside dwellings on warm fall and winter days. They also may stain draperies and other light-colored surfaces and produce an unpleasant odor when crushed, but these are not major problems. They do not reproduce during this period. They may attempt to feed on house plants but do not cause any damage. On rare occasions, they have been reported to bite humans.

Most often, you'll find these guys on the sunny side of your house aroound your windows and door frames and any eves or overhangs. 
Facts About Boxelder Bugs

Box elder bugs normally feed on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods of the boxelder tree or silver maple. Large numbers of box elder bugs are usually on the female, or pod-bearing, tree. These insects feed on male box elder trees and other trees and plants, but they usually do not build up to such large numbers. The adults search for a place to overwinter which brings them into houses where they hide in small cracks and crevices in walls, door and window casings, attics, and around the foundation. During warm days in winter and early spring they come out and scatter through the house. They are primarily a nuisance as they crawl or fly about in the rooms.

The adult bugs lay eggs in the spring and the nymphs emerge in a few days. The nymphs are small and show more red than adults. These nymphs develop into adults during the summer, then mate and lay eggs which hatch into the nymphs of the second generation. Activity of nearly fully grown nymphs is noticed in August and September when they gather in large numbers on the trunks of box elder trees. The migration of the adults begins at this time.

During the autumn months (around October 1), adult and large nymph boxelder bugs congregate in large numbers primarily on the bark of boxelder trees and then begin migrating to a place for overwintering (frequently around foundations and windows). Only full-grown adults overwinter, moving to hibernation sites either by crawling or flying. They may crawl from a nearby tree or fly about two miles to find shelter. These bugs hide in cracks and crevices in walls, in door and window casings, around foundations, in stone piles, in tree holes and in other protected places. On warm days during winter and early spring, they sometimes reappear on light-painted surfaces outdoors on the south and west sides of the house, resting in the sun.


Boxelder leaves

Overwintering adults leave their hibernating quarters with the coming of warm weather (last week of March), and females begin laying eggs (late April to early May) in crevices of tree bark, stones, leaves, grasses and on other objects near host plants. Eggs hatch in 11 to 19 days, with bright-red nymphs appearing about the same time new tree leaves develop. There are five nymphal instars. The instars get progressively darker red with each stage. In July, new adults lay eggs that result in a second generation by early autumn. Boxelder bugs feed primarily on the seed-bearing boxelder trees by sucking sap from the leaves, tender twigs and developing seeds. Occasionally, they have been observed feeding on ash, maple, plum, cherry, apple, peach, grape and strawberries, causing some scarring or dimpling of fruits. However, boxelder bugs seldom develop in large enough numbers to become a nuisance, unless able to feed on seed-bearing boxelder trees. Apparently, they do little actual feeding damage to boxelder trees. There may be one to two generations per year.


Controlling Box Elder Bugs

Since boxelder bugs feed and reproduce primarily on pistillate (female) boxelder trees, removal of these trees, especially around the house, would eliminate nuisance populations. Some towns have outlawed pistillate trees. However, adults are capable of flying two or more miles for suitable hibernation quarters. If boxelder trees are desirable for shade, ornamental beauty or other purposes, use only propagation (cuttings) from the staminate (male) trees. Eliminate potential hiding places such as piles of boards, rocks, leaves, grass and other debris close to the house. Rake leaves and grass away from the foundation in a six- to ten-foot-wide strip, especially on the south and west sides of the structure. Be sure to caulk and close openings where boxelder bugs can enter the house such as around light fixtures, doors and windows, unscreened vents, holes in walls around utility pipes or conduits, air conditioners, heat pump lines and through the foundation. They are also attracted to lights and can fly in open doors or windows. Screen all windows, doors, crawl spaces, exhaust and roof vents and louvers. Clusters of bugs may be killed by pouring boiling water on them. Be careful to avoid killing grass and other desirable plants with boiling water.

Should boxelder tree removal be impractical, treat the young, exposed boxelder bugs "nymphs" on the trees during spring and early summer to prevent potential large populations and indoor migrations in the autumn. Before applying pesticides, test the pesticide on an inconspicuous spot before application as it might stain cedar and other siding. Applications of Talstar Professional or AllPest Super Kill II sprayed to tree trunks, limbs and foliage are effective. Other tools include deltamethrin (DeltaDust), Dragnet and pyrethrins (Exciter, Kicker when available). Sprays can be applied on foundation walls, sidewalks, fence rows, etc. as boxelder bugs mature and migrate from the trees. Cracks and crevices, wall voids and similar areas may be treated with delta dusts and/or aerosols such as Alpine Aerosol or CB Invader. Dusts labelled include amorphous deltamethrin (DeltaDust), boric acid (Boractin Boric Acid) and Pyrethrin dusts such as Drione Dust.  Concentrated wettable powders such as Cyper WSP and liquid formulations like Demon Max, Cy-Kick Cs or Talstar Professional. When applications are needed on tall trees or large areas requiring specialized equipment, it is best to employ a reputable pest control firm. Indoor control is often difficult since the bugs may be scattered throughout the house. Aerosol sprays containing pyrethrins such as CB-80 Extra or Pro Control Foggers will give temporary control. When applying these materials, fill the entire room with a mist spray and close it off for several hours. Later, use a vacuum cleaner and/or broom and dustpan to pick up dead and dying bugs. Summit Perma-cide can provide lasting indoor control.

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