Thursday, February 24, 2022

Box Elder Bugs and Stink Bugs


Box Elder Seeds
Mrs ERJ informs me that there are fewer things less conducive to a restful night of sleep than crawling into bed and encountering a stinky, scratchy beast that claws at her all night long.

Sometimes that beast is even a bug that sought refuge in our house.

Box Elder Bugs

Box Elder Bugs like to overwinter in outbuildings, beneath the bark of dead trees and in attics. As the weather warms up and the days get longer they become active and they seem attracted to the heated spaces where humans are.

Not surprisingly, Box Elder Bugs are found where Box Elder Trees grow. Box Elders are considered a "weed" tree because they grow fast, spread quickly and they smell bad.

The interesting thing, to me, is that Box Elder Bugs depend on the Box Elder seeds to reproduce. That is, only half of the Box Elder Trees contribute to the problem, the ones that bear seeds.

That is a boon because the seeds hang on all winter and make those trees easy to identify. Find and cut down the female Box Elders and your Box Elder Bug problem pretty much disappears...the next winter.

Stink Bugs

Stink Bugs also become active this time of year

Stink Bugs are the ones that seem to like to burrow down between the sheets.

A quick review of the internet reveals that the most effective, and least expensive trap is a disposable aluminum roasting pan (made from heavy aluminum foil) that is partially filled with water and a squirt of soap. Then, since the Stink Bugs are attracted to light, one points a desk lamp or an LED battery into the bottom of the pan.

Additionally, the fruity/flowery scents added to dish detergents (and presumably some shampoos) is attractive to Stink Bugs.

The soap makes the water wet-out to the Stink Bug's legs and exoskeleton. The bug sinks and drowns.


  1. Is stinkbug another word for politician?
    Someone else's sheets, bright lights, etc.

    1. That comment deserves a drum-roll.


      I wish I had thought of that.

  2. I think that our version is the Western Conifer Seed bug. They seek the refuge of warm spaces (heated houses and shops) in the late fall. Harmless, they don't bite or damage anything, but stink pretty bad when you crush them. My general rule about sharing the house - only approved humans and mammals that I'm willing to feed. Better a quick stinky death than the slow death of releasing them outside when it's -20F...

  3. We have the stink bugs here in the upstate or SC. We also have Lady Bugs, which also release a strong pheromone when crushed. In older houses, like a cabin we spent winter and spring in one year, Lady Bugs came out of the light fixtures and covered the ceiling. There were thousands of the damn things. You have to get a professional exterminator to get rid of them.

  4. We've got stinkbugs in Oregon.
    Growing up near Seattle, though, I never saw them. It might have been too cold for them.

  5. That same trap,with much lower walls, will solve a flea problem. I used a pizza pan,water and dish soap and a desk lamp.
    They hop in
    They don't hop out,
    I've also noticed that gnats/fruit flies, are attracted to a sink with a buncha suds . We use Dawn. Is it the scent of the dawn or do they just want to see what the pile of white stuff is? Idk,but every summer I have to do that a few times.