Now that the weather has finally turned a corner, many residents might be finding some unsolicited visitors in their homes. Dark-gray or black, with red on the edges of the wings and body, the boxelder beetle isn’t trying to get into your home. It’s trying to get out.
To survive, the boxelder beetle takes up winter lodging in the space between your home’s inner and outer walls, finding tiny cracks and crevices to squeeze into and migrating to the warmest areas on the southern and western sides of the dwelling, where there is the most sun exposure.
After snoozing away the winter months like Rip Van Winkle, the beetles start to stir with the warmer temperatures and make their way back outdoors for springtime fun. Unfortunately for you, a few of these travelers take a few wrong turns and end up inside your residence. They don’t want to be there as much as you don’t want them there.
However, be warned: Your first reaction may be the wrong one. According to the Michigan State University Extension website, squishing these little critters can leave a red stain. The agency suggests hand-picking them or vacuuming them up as spraying the house likely won’t do any good; that might get the ones you see, but they won’t get to the source between the walls.
The best plan is to go on the defense for their eventual winter return by taking a look around the outside of the house, especially the southern and western sides, to see if there are any small cracks that can be sealed or caulked.
Sure, these critters can’t really be deemed the “cute” beetle, so Paul McCartney has nothing to worry about in that area. But they don’t bite, so they are essentially harmless beetles that you could easily ignore.
Photo credit to: Sandeep Handa