Tim MacDonald Havre Daily News email@example.com
It’s that time of year. The leaves have pretty much turned and the first hard freeze can’t be far behind. It’s the time when unwanted visitors start showing up in droves the kind with six or eight legs. Most people who have spent much time walking around downtown Havre have noticed little long-legged bugs, maybe three-eighths-of-an-inch long, scurrying and flying about. Their red bellies give them away as box elder bugs, a relatively harmless critter that becomes a nuisance this time of year. According to Montana State University’s Hill County Extension Office, these bugs usually feed on the foliage of female box elder trees and sometimes ash and maple. They cause little damage to the trees, and it is only this time of year that they have much contact with humans, when they try to move into houses for winter. Their presence is a nuisance, and an embarrassment to people who don’t want their guests to see insects crawling on the carpet, but the bugs do not eat indoor plants or breed indoors, nor are they a threat to furnishings. The extension office doesn’t recommend the use of insecticides indoors and said the best way to get rid of them is to simply vacuum them up, this will get rid of most of them and the rest will simply die off. To keep them out of the house, sweep-strips at the bottoms of doors are recommended as are caulking cracks and seams. To take care of them outdoors, spray an insecticidal soup containing pyrethrin. Long-residual insecticides applied to the foundation and around doors and windows can also be used to control outdoor populations and keep them from moving inside. People who have repeated problems with the bugs should consider removing the female box elder trees and only planting males, as they don’t attract the insects, according the extension office. Insect proofing a home is not a bad idea, even for those who don’t have box elder bugs. Spiders, clothing moths, earwhigs and myriad other bugs all move indoors if they can when the weather chills.