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If it seems like you're seeing more box elder bugs than normal this year, it's not your imagination. After a highly productive 2016, the distinctive insects are showing up in even greater numbers this fall, requiring local pest control.

In regions across the country, homeowners are discovering swarms of the bugs covering walls and trees. One homeowner told CBC news that her neighborhood in Toronto is covered with the insects.

box elder bugs

The distinctive bug

Box elder bugs are half-inch long insects with distinctive red marks on their wings. When their wings are flat, the red marks will cross over to form an "x." They gather primarily on ash and maple trees (they're also known as maple bugs) and feed on the seeds of those trees.

In warmer months they can occasionally be found covering the sides of houses on sunny days by the hundreds. If they locate a space or crack in a home, they can move in and cover the entire walls of a room, requiring pest removal. They don't bite or destroy wood, so their numbers and appearance can be more annoying than anything else.

In Regina, swarms of box elder bugs have been reported and the city's Manager of Forestry, Pest Control and Horticulture Russell Eirich has warned of the bugs making a move for a warmer home as colder weather sets in.

According to CBC news during his weekly update on local pest control management, Eirich said, "(The bugs will) start to try to get into the houses. They're going to be looking for cracks and crevices on the building."

A population cycle

While the bugs are highly visible during the summer, their population increases during the fall. But this season they may be particularly abundant, according to University of Saskatchewan biology professor emeritus Cedric Gillott. In an interview with the CBC, Gillott stated this year's surge is a continuation of the infestation of 2016 and was the largest he'd ever seen.

Gillott said the bugs are currently going through a population cycle, which occurs approximately each seven to nine years. He explained that 2016 marked the high point of the cycle.

Such large swarms of box elder bugs can prove to be more than homeowners can handle on their own and will require the services of a professional pest control management. A pest control expert like Abell Pest Control can help you make sure that this year's infestation of box elder bugs don't remain in your home in 2018.

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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