Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

What is the black bug with red stripes that has invaded the outside wall of my home? This is a question we get frequently in the fall.

This bug is the Box Elder bug. During fall and warm days in the winter, herds swarm on walls (inside and outside), sidewalks, furniture, trees, etc.

In the spring, the female box elder bug lays eggs on box elders, maples, ash and fruit trees. The eggs hatch in about two weeks and the young feed on tender twigs, foliage and seeds throughout spring and summer. The box elder bug causes no damage to these plants.

In fall, box elder bugs fly in swarms to warm and dry sites. Bugs will enter buildings and dry sheltered places. They produce one to two breeds per year.

The box elder bug is a nuisance in the home. These bugs will not bite humans or pets. They do not feed on fabrics or furniture, but their excrement may stain household items. If crushed, they will emit a sickening odor.

Control

1. Vacuum bugs. Remove and trash the bag.

2. Keep doors and windows screened. Seal cracks.

3. Indoors: Spray with pyrethroids.

4. Outdoors: Treat soil with bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, or pyrethroids sprayed in 5-6 foot band around the foundation.

5. Spray outside walls 2-3 feet up. You will need to test the wall in an inconspicuous place for staining.

If you have any questions regarding your planting or fall gardening plans or other insect control, please contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email uge2233@uga.edu.

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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