Box elders swarm campus buildings

By Dawn C. Brown

Box-elder bugs are swarming the inside and outside of campus buildings.

The box elders are small bugs with red stripes across their wings. They don’t cause damage, and they do not bite or sting, said Bethia King, assistant professor of biology.

These bugs have been known to come out in the spring and lay eggs. The eggs are hatched in the summer and feed on the juices of the box-elder tree seeds, King said.

If the bugs get inside a building, they shed their fecal matter on the walls causing spots. The best way to get rid of them is to pick them up or vacuum them, King said.

Box elders normally hibernate during the winter. The ones that are unable to hide under logs, rocks or tree bark will not survive the winter, according to a University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana fact sheet. Most are usually killed by the frost.

There is a possibility they also will appear if there is a warm spell during the winter. The bugs still will be active but at a low rate, King said.

“The box elders should all be gone by the next frost,” King said. National Weather Forecaster Mike Bell said the next frost is not expected until Oct. 15.

“They’re all over the inside and outside of my house and garage. My neighbors are having the same problem,” Bell said.