Box Elder bugs plague several Utah towns

POSTED: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 5:04am

Box Elder bugs are a big nuisance for many Utah residents, and some experts say they're seeing them out in some of the largest numbers in several years.

Entomologists at Utah State University say the reason for the influx of Box Elder bugs could be the combination of a mild winter, warm summer and the wet weather from last year, which all adds up to a very buggy fall.

The little black bugs seem to be coming in droves, and in the small town of Portage residents can't seem to get rid of them.

"They've just been awful this fall," Portage resident Keith Wadman said. "They're in your food, they're in your house, they're everywhere, they just crawl everywhere."

"My windowsill is all covered with them," added Nick Tree.

The population in Portage is just a few hundred people, so the bugs easily outnumber the residents.

"Yes, there's more bugs than there are people," said Lisa Bryant.

Residents say they're used to seeing the Box Elder bugs at this time of the year, but few can remember a fall that bugged them as much.

Utah State University entomologist Diane Alston said, unfortunately, there is no magic repellant to keep Box Elder bugs away.

"Whatever you use to remove them from your house one day, they'll be many more to replace them the next day," Alston said.

The only real repellant will be the colder temperatures, and many of the residents of Portage are holding out for that.

Until the temperatures drop, the best way to get rid of the bugs is some kind of insecticide.

"The only redeeming quality they have is that they don't bite," Wadman said.


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