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DayCreek Journal

October 8 , 2006

Respect Your Box Elders

Ah...autumn in Minnesota...the sound of leaves crunching under your feet as you walk down a path on a sunny, warm day. The beauty of the colorful bluffs reflecting in the water of the Mississippi River. The crisp morning air and the sound of birds migrating south. The orange colored excrement being spewed by box elder bugs on the windows and doors of your house. The putrid odor of asian beetles being crushed under your feet. There's nothing like autumn in Minnesota.

I thought I had avoided the plague this year. There really weren't too many box elder bugs and asian beetles hanging around the house until a week ago. That's when all hell broke loose! With temperatures in the low 80's (F), the walls of the house were crawling with box elder bugs and asian beetles.

I complain about them every year and it doesn't do any good other than releasing the stress of having these autumn visitors. They are everywhere. They get in the house. They get in the car. They get in your underwear. Nothing is safe. Until now.

This year I declared war! War seems to be the rage nowadays, so I might as well have my own war. Having the windows literally covered with box elder bugs did me in. I just couldn't take it any more. I snapped.

On a clear day you can see for about 10 feet.

Doing a search on Google, I came across an article for a "new" product that supposedly kills box elder bugs and asian lady beetles. No stores in our area carried the product, so it would have to be shipped. I didn't like that idea. I couldn't wait. Waiting one more day might have meant the end of civilization as we know it. The house was rapidly turning into a blob of black and red bugs.

After more searches and more reading, I discovered the secret active ingredient for this "new" product: deltamethrin. Deltamethrin is approved by the EPA and is one of the most common insecticides used in the world—not that this makes it any less toxic, but at least it's not banned anywhere from what I could find.

Off to the local Farm & Fleet to see what they had in stock. When I got there, the shelves were mostly bare! It's seems I wasn't the only one having plague problems. After searching the shelves, I did find a product that contained deltamethrin. I bought three bottles of it. Hopefully, this would be enough to spray the exterior walls, windows and doors of the house.

The next morning while the bugs were rather lethargic, I dumped the bottles into a pump sprayer and sprayed the exterior of the house, concentrating the spray on the windows and doors where they seemed to congregate. Three bottles were just enough for this experiment.

They didn't seem too bothered by the stuff at first, but about four hours later, I started seeing a few of them dropping off the walls and onto the ground. By the next day, there were piles of them on the ground around the house!

So far, deltamethrin has seemed to have done the trick. There are a few bugs on the windows, but the numbers of them have dramatically decreased. Deltamethrin is suppose to last on the surface for up to one year, but I'll be happy if I just make it through the current box elder bug and asian beetle season.

This victory may be short-lived but at least I can open and close doors without waves of bugs entering the house.

A Yellow-Rumped Warbler feeding on a wild grape vine.