Seeing Red? Are Those Pesky Halloween Bugs Bugging You?
One of the most common bug complaints is the nuisance of Halloween bugs, a.k.a., maple bugs, boxelder bugs. These are quite distinctive because of the bright red markings found on their backs. The complaint with these bugs is usually not because of the plant damage they cause but because of the nuisance they are around houses.
Adult boxelder bugs overwinter in dry, sheltered locations including cracks, crevices and attics of buildings. In the spring they emerge and return to their host-Manitoba maple-to lay eggs in the bark crevices. When the nymphs emerge, they immediately begin to feed on leaves and eventually on maturing seedpods. A symptom of their presence (aside from the bug!) is a yellowing speckling on the leaves and seedpods.
In most cases, the damage to the Manitoba maple from the feeding is relatively insignificant. For the most part the bugs are just a household nuisance. To control these bugs, fill in cracks and crevices to prevent an overwintering location. They can also be controlled outdoors with Insecticidal Soap, according to label directions. Indoors, vacuuming up and disposing of the bugs is the only real alternative.