An Unwelcome Invasion

Boxelder bugs congregate on the door frame on my house.

Last week marked the 12th anniversary of my home purchase on a relatively quiet Worthington street, but it wasn’t the turning of the calendar page that reminded me of the occasion. The sudden invasion of those little black and orange bugs — boxelder bugs — were all the reminder I needed.

When the sun shines and the temperature rises, these bugs congregate in droves on the outside of my house — all over the foundation, on the door frame and around the windows. Every once in a while one finds its way inside, and I have no doubt they either latch onto me as I unlock the door or fly inside in the few seconds it takes for me to get in the house.

As far as bugs go, I find the boxelder bug to be tolerable — much more so than those speedy centipedes or creepy spiders. The problem is, I’m starting to feel creepy crawly bugs on me when there aren’t any in sight — or worse, I get the feeling something is walking across the back of my neck, only to catch a boxelder bug between my fingers.

It’s kind of like the feeling you might get in finding a wood tick — thoughts run wild of half a dozen others hiding in your hair, crawling up your legs or making their way up the inside of your clothing.

I’m sorry if you now have the creepy crawly feeling, really I am. Just think — it could be worse. I could be writing about snakes.

Anyway, back to the boxelder bugs. It was shortly after I purchased my house that my then-neighbor Jerry and I had a conversation over the chainlink fence in the back yard about these pesky boxelder bugs. I remember him specifically telling me the boxelder bug invasion is worse about every three years.

After 12 years — four three-year cycles — I’m starting to think Jerry and I have a difference of opinion on what constitutes a “worse” invasion. I’m also starting to think my “new” neighbors — they’ve lived in the house next door for about a decade — should consider cutting down the boxelder tree that serves as the host for these incessantly reproducing bugs.

I discovered some information about boxelder bugs online from the University of Minnesota while writing this blog — information that says trees have too many benefits to cut one down. Besides, the host tree for boxelder bugs can be up to a mile away and people will still have problems with the creepy crawly critters.

And it isn’t just boxelder trees that support boxelder bugs; they also congregate in ash and maple trees.

So, I guess I have to live with the boxelder bugs — preferably on the outside of my house, though, rather than the inside.