What Are The Red/Orange and Black Bugs in Your House?

One of the few positives of a cold Minnesota winter is you do not have to contend with insects, right? Extension Educator in Rice and Steele County Claire LaCanne (my Bug Geek) would be proud I said insects and not bugs. Claire said she has been getting many calls about boxelder bugs being active in homes. This morning in the studio I felt something on my cheek and soon realized it was a boxelder bug! I guess they are active in radio studios, too!

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Boxelder bugs (epantha)
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Why Are There Boxelder Bugs in My House?

Claire said these insects snuck into homes (and studios) last fall looking for a warm place to survive the winter. They shut down and kind of go into hibernation or slow body processes waiting for warmer weather. So, why are they waking up now? Because it has been really cold, maybe we turned up the thermostat, or a warm sunny day provided enough warmth for them to wake up.

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Can Boxelder Bugs Cause Damage To Your Home?

Fortunately, the boxelder bugs are still really slow or as Claire said "half-sleeping bugs that don't have much of an agenda other than wanting to be warm." They do not lay eggs, reproduce or typically eat anything. Another reason we may be seeing more boxelder bugs this winter is that there was more last fall. To reproduce they typically prefer a warm dry summer so there was a "large crop" of boxelder bugs looking for a way to survive the winter!

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Boxelder Bug (Kelly Krage / Townsquare Media)
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How Do You Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs?

You do not need to call an exterminator or use insecticides in your home. Just pick them up and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag. I have found a few at home too and just vacuumed them up with a dust buster. Then I do not have to drag around the big vacuum cleaner! There have also been a few reports of stink bugs being seen in homes too.

Stink bugs are like boxelder bugs in that they are half asleep and will not typically cause any damage. However, if you decide to pick one up and happen to squash it with your fingers you may be surprised? I think there may be a reason it is called a stink bug?

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Stink Bug (Thinkstock)
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Click play in the player below and listen to Claire LaCanne discuss insects in your home in the middle of a cold Minnesota winter.

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