Maple Bug Treatment
Maple Bug Control Services
Maple bugs or boxelder bugs are black with distinct reddish-orange markings across their backs and measure approximately 14 mm. The bug’s primary food source is tree seeds from the boxelder (Manitoba maple), other maples, and ashes. The bugs seek overwintering sites near the source of their food. Though harmless, they leave a reddish ichor (discharge) and minor odour when squished.
Regular vacuuming, plus spot spraying, control numbers internally. After the bugs have been removed from internal voids, they have overwintered in, sealing the gaps reduces/prevents future activity. If warranted, spraying external areas in late-summer to mid-fall where the bugs congregate will help reduce external activity and possible entry indoors.
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Maple Bug FAQs
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions – Maple Bug
Maple bugs are considered solid and agile fliers, sometimes travelling several miles from the trees where they hatched as they seek out food sources and places to stay over the winter months.
Maple bugs won’t bite, but they may prick you with a sharp mouthpart on rare occasions. They are considered “true bugs,” they have evolved to suck nutrients from their food rather than biting and tearing it with mandibles. Maple bugs cannot sting, either.
If your pet is prone to eating bugs, steer them clear of tasting a maple bug. As a defence against predators, these insects have an extremely foul taste. If your dog does eat a maple bug, you can expect that it may vomit in a short time and make preparations for that to happen by taking it outside or confining it to a room with a tile floor. Some dogs, however, may have a different reaction – they may salivate excessively for a short time. Cats seem a little more likely to snack on and tolerate maple bugs. Still, they may suffer the same effects: Vomiting and/or excessive salivating. If you’re still concerned about the well-being of your cat or dog after it consumed a maple bug, contact your veterinarian for additional guidance.
Maple bugs eat by sucking the juices out of plants. In particular, they feed upon the juice contained in the seeds of boxelder trees and other trees in the maple family. Even in large numbers, maple bugs seem to do little damage to these trees.
During their normal activity, maple bugs don’t emit any odour. However, when disturbed or smashed, they will release a pungent (and bad-tasting) compound to discourage predators. This, along with their orange or red markings, makes it easy for most predators to remember to avoid eating these bugs. Their defensive capabilities also explain another maple bug habit – since they have no concern about predators, they can gather in huge, conspicuous groups without the fear of being eaten.
Maple bugs lay their eggs on the trunks, branches and leaves of their food source. They do not lay eggs in or on houses or other structures. After hatching as nymphs 10 to 14 days later, they will moult five times throughout the spring, summer and fall months.
Naturally, maple bugs are attracted to their food source – the seeds of the maple tree family. In the spring, they feed on the juice trapped in ungerminated seeds that have fallen off trees. As new seeds develop throughout the summer, they feed on those. Further, maple bugs are attracted to the areas where they can find shelter for the coming winter. In a natural setting, these areas include under rocks, inside hollow logs and behind loose bark. Manmade structures provide wonderful shelter for them too, where they can be found behind siding or in woodpiles. To stay warm, they congregate on brick or stucco facades and on the surfaces of any south- or west-facing structures that catch significant amounts of sunlight.
People notice maple bugs in the fall more than any other time of the year because they become such a nuisance at this time. During the spring and summer, one or two generations of maple bugs develop. As the weather turns colder, these insects go into survival mode – they need a place to stay for the winter, and they often try to invade human structures. The resulting swarm on home and building exteriors make their presence especially obvious. During this time, you’ll find them trying to get inside through cracks and crevices, damaged window screens, ventilation ducts, utility conduits and plumbing.
In some years, the sheer number of maple bugs can make the task of controlling them seem daunting. Still, several simple steps can be taken to limit their ability to get inside:
- Remove Boxelder Bug Food Sources– If possible, remove the trees that they are feeding on, which will deter the insects from remaining in your yard. Since maple bugs are only attracted to “female” maples that develop seed pods, you can just eliminate those trees.
- Seal Gaps in Your Home– Maple bugs can fit in spaces as small as 1/8 inches, so seal such spaces with caulking or foam. Also, install door sweeps on exterior entry doors.
- Check or Install Screens– Check the screens on your windows and doors for holes. Add a screen on ventilation ports, including vents for dryers, heating, air conditioning and soffits.