These boxelder bugs are driving me crazy!

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I can’t stand it anymore.  Every warm day, there are thousands of boxelder bugs on and in my house.  I have sprayed and sprayed and they don’t die.  I was told that if I had the boxelder tree cut down, I would have no more problems but I do.  Why has this plague happened to me?

I shall answer with a question, and why not you?  Insect problems are not being dished out to sinners or non-believers.  They are equal opportunity annoyers.

This has more to do with the age, construction and color of the house than the occupants.  Boxelder bugs spend the winter as adults in places where they won’t freeze solid.  If they did freeze, there are no mating opportunities in the spring or frolicking with their friends.

The first fall weather with cold nights and warm days sends them looking for winter lodging.  Most will land on the south or the west sides of the house because those are the warmest. They find light-colored houses or houses with large expanses of glass attractive resting spots.  Both reflect a great deal of heat that they crave.

The kind of siding of the house makes a difference on how easy it is for boxelder bugs and other overwintering insects to get under.  The easiest siding to crawl under is vinyl, followed closely by aluminum.  Obviously, brick does a good job of keeping out insects but if there are cracks around windows, a pile of bugs can still squeeze in.

Sadly, tree removal rarely ends boxelder bug problems.  The tiny beasties can fly so the boxelder trees could be a quarter of a mile away.

The age of the house is also a factor.  The older the house, the more cracks develop from settling or weathering, all of which provide shelter.

Another question to ponder is how well-built is the house?  Some houses could offer multiple cracks under the siding that allow insects to get into the wall void.

Spraying is often not terribly effective.  As insects go into or come out of dormancy, they rarely metabolize enough of the pesticide to kill them.  If you are spraying indoors, you and other house mammals will live with the pesticide residue for some time.

Suck the offenders up with a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment.

Keep in mind that the end is near. When weather warms and stays above 50 degrees, you boxelder houseguests will vacate for fun in the trees.  You can seal and repair openings in May and June.  This will help to keep out the new fall crop wanting to reserve a room at Motel You.

I have strawberry plants and put straw over them for the winter.  How do I know when to remove the straw?  And just what does that straw do?

Your straw cover is winter protection.  For June-bearing strawberries, the flower buds were produced last fall.  That means that they spend the winter on the plant.  If plants get too cold or too warm during this period, the flower buds fall off.  And so goes your fruit.

The ever-bearing strawberries will have some buds during this time, just not as many.  Right now, your plants should be uncovered during the day.  They need to get plenty of sunlight to begin growing again.  They also need to dry out.

Buried under straw, plants can begin to mold and rot.  So uncover them during the day but push the straw over the tops at night if it is going to be even close to freezing.

Hopefully, your plants are in rows with walkways between them.  Just move the straw into the walkway.  It’s still close to but not on top of the plants for the solar events and cold weather.