I’m wondering if anyone else out there has noticed anything suspicious about the bugs around their house lately. The word “bug” is a scientific term biologists use to combine two species:
The Family of Animals That You Can Kill With A Rolled Up Magazine, and The Family Of Animals That Are Too Quick For That.
I ask because the bugs I’ve seen have definitely become more aggressive in their pursuit to GET INTO MY HOUSE. This makes me nervous. Having just thrown away a Kleenex full of squished box elder bugs, my wife laments because, somehow, she’s missed one.
Then another one.
Then another one.
They just keep appearing.
Sometimes my children react strongly when a box elder bug flies near or lands on them.
Being the man of the house, I feel somewhat responsible to do what I can to help—especially after learning that pointing and saying, “Oh, there’s another one,” or, “Maybe a vacuum would work better,” wasn’t an effective approach.
So I did what many men of the house do when they have a perplexing problem—I googled it.
As you know, in order to google effectively, you must be specific in your query, but not too specific.
For example, typing in the words: “What to tell your wife to do about boxelder bugs when she runs out of Kleenex,” was too specific.
Eventually, however, I was able to coax from the internet the following interesting facts:
About Box Elder Bugs: Fun Facts
- Box elder bugs are common pests throughout the United States.
- Boxelders develop by gradual metamorphosis from egg to nymph to adult.
- Boxelder bugs feed principally by sucking juices from the box elder tree.
- Box elder bugs will enter structures in the fall, seeking winter shelter.
- When box elder bugs build up to large populations and invade a home, they usually do little damage, but they might poop on your curtains.
- A Boxelder bug’s piercing-sucking mouth parts can sometimes puncture skin, causing a slight irritation.
All this leads me to believe that box elder bugs are probably not very intelligent. This gives me some comfort and hope that I might one day outsmart them. I can also tell my children, if a box elder flies near or lands on them, not to panic because it really means no harm. It is simply either:
A) hungry, confused them for a box elder tree and is preparing its piercing mouth parts, or
B) thinks they are a curtain and is ready to poop.
Boxelder Bugs: A population explosion
According to entomologists, box elder populations swing through a 10-year cycle, with years seven through ten being the most active “reproductively speaking.” They did not define “reproductively speaking,” but I’m guessing that what the experts are trying to communicate is that during these years, male box elder bugs become more confident and sophisticated with their pick-up lines.
Anyway, this was year eight. Which means that we can expect male box elders’ success to continue for another two years. Then, for reasons science has yet to discover, males become much less sophisticated in social settings. As the cycle repeats, males revert to an awkward adolescence, totally forgetting that female box elders rank potential mates with confidence and a sense of humor higher than those that can, say . . . burp the alphabet or light their own farts.
Understandably, populations then plummet.
Experts also state that box elder bugs start seeking shelter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Responding to instinct, they follow the shadows on a house until this strategy leads them to a window or door-frame. The experts sum up by saying, “Once they get in your house, there’s not much you can do.”
How to get rid of boxelders for good
I don’t know about you, but as the man of the house, a statement like, “ . . .there’s not much you can do,” frustrates me. It does not fit with the Manly Creed: “Failure Is Not An Option” (officially adopted by Manly Men in 1995 after release of the movie “Apollo 13”). A Real Man knows there is always something you can do.
Case in point: I went out and bought more Kleenex.
Note from Chris Wondra:
So now, undoubtably, you’re irritated because you’ve read all the way to the end and still have no clear idea about how to solve your problem. I’d be a bit peaved too. That’s three minutes I’ve douped you out of.
Well, I’m going to try to make this right. What follows is a list of links I’ll update periodically when I find (or you tell me of) different answers to this boxelder bug problem of ours. After all, we’re all in this together.
Here are 10 more ogranic solutions to control boxelder pests (some overlap with the tips above), as well as a short lesson on boxelder bugs. Though I have to warn you, it’s not as amusing to read as my explanation above.