The Box Elder

Your Chicagoland Guide on Box Elders

The Breakdown






11 – 14 mm



Box Elders

Box elder bugs have black bodies marked with red lines on their thorax and sides. The biggest they grow is about 11 to 14 mm long, they have two antennas, and their flat red wings give them the ability to fly.

Box elder bugs usually make their nests in maple and ash trees during the warm weather and seek shelter during the winter. Most of these pests get indoors through cracks and holes of your home. While indoors, they won’t intentionally damage anything, however, their droppings do leave stains on house items. Outdoors, they will feed on trees, sometimes causing damage.

The best way to reduce these bugs around your home is to get rid of any host trees. If they have already infested your area and you want to get rid of them, we recommend contacting a pest technician who can create a custom treatment to eliminate them.

Signs of an Infestation

The most obvious sign of a box elder bug infestation is seeing a large number of these pests around. They are most often found during the fall on the side of buildings where the sun shines most. If they make their way into homes, they will most likely infest storage sheds and garages. They gravitate towards homes that have more sunlight beaming in and will usually be found in homes during the winter to stay warm.

When they are indoors, they can damage household items by staining them with their excrement. Outdoors, box elder bugs damage maple, plum, and cherry trees, as this is what they feed on. If you have an infestation, we recommend you contact a pest professional to get rid of them. You also want to be sure to remove unnecessary clutter and seal any holes in the walls of your home.

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Understanding the Seasons

Weather has a profound effect on pest life cycle. Most pests, rodents and insects breed aggressively during spring and go through periods of hibernation during autumn and winter.

When the weather slowly begins to heat up, pests start to get more active after having stayed dormant over the colder winter months.

  • Birds often start to find mates and start building their nests.
  • Moths which consumer leaves usually become active again.
  • Flies often emerge from their winter hibernation places and start to breed and spread out.
  • Squirrels also spend the winter in hibernation. When spring approaches these creatures start looking for a new home. This is usually the time when they make their way into lofts and other spaces.

Summer is arguably the best season for pests. It is the time when they are in full swing and breed as rapidly as they can. Wasps are one of the most common summer pests followed by flies and rodents. Many a summer picnics and BBQs have been ruined by the ‘home invasion’ of these pests.

  • Wasps build their nesting grounds and lay their eggs during this time. Although the creatures are not directly harmful, they can be very aggressive and territorial at this time of the year, because they’re at their strongest.
  • The number of fleas also multiplies. Since pets spend more time outdoors during summer, they are more likely to bring the pests back indoors with them.
  • Bees are also more active during summer as they go out to gather nectar. Many times, homeowners find a new beehive in their garden and require pest control to take care of it. Because of their sting, bees are more dangerous than some of the other pests and you should call our professional service to get rid of them.
  • Moths and flies usually start to multiply significantly during summer.
  • Ants begin to swarm to find new mates and start new colonies during summer.
  • Cockroaches become very noticeable in the summer, especially in the kitchen and toilets. This is due to the hotter temperatures and stronger smells.
  • Bedbugs are also very active in the summer.

Autumn is the month when things start to get cooler. The number of pests starts to dwindle as they begin to slow down their breeding activities.

  • Wasps start becoming dozy and docile. You may find them buzzing around occasionally as if they are drunk. This is usually the end-time for their life.
  • Spiders in particular are more active at this time of the year.
  • Squirrels will gather their food and start to look for shelter.
  • The second breeding phase for flies begins. These pests remain active during the season.
  • Rodents also become more active. Due to the approaching cold, rodents usually find shelter inside homes in the loft or inside walls.

The coldest months are when pests seek out warmth and shelter. You will find a number of insects especially rodents and lizards make their way inside your home.

  • Spiders come into our homes to escape the web-destroying frosts.
  • Rodents move indoors to escape the cold, increasing infestations.
  • In many cases, homeowners find squirrels nesting in lofts when they go to get their Christmas decorations.

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