Category Archives: Insects

Don’t let boxelder bugs ruin your autumn

As the cool fall weather approaches, so does boxelder bug season. These pests can infiltrate homes and cause problems throughout the fall and winter. When the pests enter a residence, their numbers can expand, causing a headache for homeowners. Even though these common pests aren't dangerous, they can become a nuisance and be difficult to eradicate.

Identifying boxelder bugs
Residents often notice boxelder bugs when the pests swarm to trees, structures and gardens lit by the sun. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, the bugs may be an even bigger problem, since they often feed on the tree's seed pods. The adult pests are dark brown with red stripes and abdomens and are about half an inch long. When crushed, they can release an unpleasant odor.

Keep pests out of the home
Even though these pests are often found outdoors, they begin to migrate inside structures once the weather begins to cool. They can find their way into your house through open doors or windows, ripped screens, small cracks or even around your home's foundation. Because they can be tricky to get rid of after they have established themselves in a residence, it is important to take preventative pest control measures to keep the insects from entering in the first place. Ensure doors and windows shut tightly, repair ripped screens and seal cracks a boxelder bug could sneak through.

Managing the infestation
If there are boxelder bugs all over your home, there's no reason to panic. The pests aren't dangerous, but they can annoy residents. Be aware that even though it is possible to treat the problem, it may be a frustrating situation. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, removing the tree may be the most effective way to eliminate the pests permanently, but this option can be undesirable or impractical.

Homeowners should be cautious when deciding if they should attempt to eliminate the pests themselves or contact insect control experts. Some home treatments may effectively eliminate the pests, but lead to a carpet beetle problem, as these insects will eat the boxelder bugs and possibly procreate, leading to a new infestation.

Upon detection of a boxelder bug invasion, vacuum your home to get rid of any dead or live insects that may be lurking around. If more than a few pests are discovered, calling an exterminator is often the best way to handle this type of infestation.

Insects destroy crops in Ontario

A rare insect infestation in Ontario is causing farmers to implement pest control.

Potato leafhoppers are not typically found in the Ontario area, the Ottawa Sun reports. This year, a massive amount of the bugs is destroying alfalfa crops.

The pests eat alfalfa juice, but also inject their poisonous saliva into the crop, which prevents the plant's sap from flowing.

The source reports that alfalfa is typically a fairly drought-resistant crop, making it a good crop to be growing this year until the potato leafhoppers showed up.

The damage to the plants is initially difficult to detect, farmers do not often realize there is a problem. This allows the pest population to grow, because farmers are not taking pest control measures against them.

A local crop specialist told the Ottawa Sun that he estimates up to 30 percent of the area's alfalfa crop may be destroyed by the pests this year.

Because farmers tend to harvest alfalfa crops several times in a season, they have been advised to cut their alfalfa down to get rid of damaged plants and prevent the leafhoppers from hiding anywhere in the field. Pesticide is also required to completely rid a field of an infestation, the source reports.

Bug bites more than an annoyance

Warm weather means plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. It also means more insects, many of which can bite or sting. The pests can make outdoor activities annoying, or even dangerous for some people.

Mosquitoes are known as an annoying biting bug, and their saliva is what makes the inflamed bites itch, according to the Oklahoman. Though the bites are annoying, they have the potential to be dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control reports that mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus, both of which have the potential to be deadly.

Many people fear the pain of bee stings, but others fear a severe allergic reaction that can occur as a result of them. Bees inject venom into the skin through their stingers, and this venom can affect some people more than others. More dangerous is when bees sting and release pheromones, signaling more bees to attack, physician and researcher Stephen Prescott told the Oklahoman.

Common sense pest control measures can be implemented to keep bugs from ruining summer fun. Wearing insect repellent is a safe way to keep away pesky mosquitoes. Avoiding bees and keeping a safe distance from any beehives will limit any potential bee stings. Any beehives built close to a home should be professionally removed by an exterminator.