Many communities are accustomed to an annual invasion of box elder bugs, but the number of pests showing up this year has been extreme in many areas. Residents and pest control professionals are saying they haven't seen such large populations of the insects in years, and the unusual weather that has been hitting much of the country may be to blame.
The worst invasion in decades
Even though box elder bugs don't carry disease, they're a huge nuisance to homeowners, especially when the pests' numbers are so extreme.
"Speaking with other technicians, it's about the worst they've seen in 20 to 25 years," local pest control expert Adam Peterson told Waterloo, Iowa, area ABC affiliate KWWL.
The source also reported some homes in the area were completely covered in the insects, and it was impossible to tell what color the houses were under the thick layer of black bugs.
Experts speculate that the bizarre weather that has swept the nation is likely the cause of the huge box elder bug population this summer and autumn. Last winter was mild enough for many of the pests to survive, and the hot dry summer created ideal conditions for the bugs to thrive.
Many homeowners are hoping the first hard frost will come soon and kill off the bugs that are swarming their homes. But while some wait for nature to handle the invasion, others are taking matters into their own hands.
Controlling box elder bugs
While the first hard frost will effectively eliminate many of these insects, some homeowners are so bothered by the pests they're taking care of the problem early on and calling insect control experts. Exterminators in many regions are seeing an increase in the number of calls regarding box elder bugs as they continue to take over homes.
And the pests aren't just clinging to windows and siding outdoors. Because of the massive populations, the bugs are sneaking into homes, prompting homeowners to call for even more pest control services. They can sneak into small cracks, ripped screens or even gain access to a home by clinging to a resident's clothing.
Even though the pests may be annoying, they're not dangerous and they won't cause damage to property or spread disease. But despite their harmless nature, many homeowners are irritated by the insects taking over their homes. Those experiencing a severe box elder bug problem may want to consult local pest control experts to assess the situation and perform any necessary services.