Chances are you’ve relocated to Florida from somewhere else – really, who hasn’t? Okay, for the 10% who were born and raised in Florida, we promise this will still be interesting. As the temperatures drop, one of the many things that tries to seek shelter in Northern homes are Boxelder or cotton-stainer bugs.
Boxelder bugs are black, with red or orange markings on the edges of their bodies and wings, although when they first hatch, they are almost entirely red. Boisea trivittata like to keep to warm areas. Up north, they will often sneak inside buildings with a lot of southern or western exposure. You don’t see them much in the summer, but when fall rolls around, they can start clustering inside your home or office. They stain walls and curtains with their droppings. And they’re difficult to eliminate.
In fact, once you have an infestation, the only way to rid the place of Boxelder bugs is to physically remove each and every one. The best defense is a great offense - eliminating entry points by sealing cracks in the foundation, repairing screens, double checking your soffit and fascia, and installing door sweeps.
Boxelder bugs get their name from their favorite habitat, the box elder trees native to most of North America. Thanks to our subtropical weather, Florida doesn’t have many boxelder trees, except in the panhandle. Which is probably why we don’t deal with Boxelder bugs here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Instead, we deal primarily with their distant cousins – Golden rain tree bugs.
Jadera haematoloma look a lot like Boxelder bugs, especially in their early stages. But adult Golden rain tree bugs, or soapberry bugs, retain much more of their bright red hue. In fact, they appear as almost a photo negative of Boxelder bugs – swapping the red for black.
Just like their cousins, the Golden rain tree bugs get their name from the Golden rain trees where they are primarily found. They also enjoy hanging out in chinaberry and balloonvines. Like Boxelder and cotton-staining bugs, they can stain fabrics and surfaces inside your home.
They are best dealt with inside by using the hose extension on your vacuum. Outdoors, a steady stream from a water hose will knock them out and wash them away. You will want to avoid crushing them, again because of the stain they leave behind. While Golden rain trees do well in our area, they are not native and can crowd out other more sustainable plants. Removing them can cut down on the number of soapberry bugs you encounter.
Similar to the Boxelder bugs, prevention is your best approach. Double check all the entry points, including the base of your home, where stucco can sometimes hide minor crevices. Thankfully, the prevailing wisdom is to avoid pesticides. They’re only mildly effective and can be more damaging to the environment and your family than the insects.
The good news is, an essential part of our most popular solution is finding and sealing all those insect entry points in your home. Go Green Perimeter Plus makes sure your home is secure, then treats around and inside year round with the safest, greenest solutions you can find. We keep your home and your family safe. For more information, or to schedule your first visit. just give us a call!
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