Thursday, September 19, 2013

In Defense of Box Elder Bugs

While  outside on Monday, my attention turned to a box elder on the backyard hill.  Is that red on the trunk?  Upon closer inspection,  I confirmed the wine-colored blobs were actually swarms of box elder bugs.  These insects are attracted to female trees where they congregate on the southwest sides on sunny days. 

I’d never seen such a large swarm before and ran inside to grab my camera.  I actually thought it was cool and decided to do some research on the insects.  I must say I was horrified at the hatred generated toward these harmless little creatures.  They do not bite or sting  nor do they damage trees, and if one happens to wander inside your house to spend the winter it does not breed.

The poor maligned creepy crawlies do nothing to warrant such hysteria from humans.  At one gardening forum I visited today, crazed people were actually chopping down female box elder trees and spraying their homes and yards with dangerous pesticides. The moderator attempted to temper the madness, explaining,

“Box elder bugs, a type of beetle, have a hard wing cover that protects them from virtually all sprays, and since they are not eating in their adult state, they cannot be killed with a stomach poison. That leaves only nerve toxins . . .  .”

Nerve toxins!?  Just for a harmless bug?  Good grief!  Talk about an over-reaction. Proper perspective is missing from this conversation, and the 1,940,000 other websites dedicated to the persecution of an insect that at most could be considered a minor nuisance for a few fall weeks.  So don't bug out! When the weather turns cold they will be gone . . . and the world will still be spinning.  


1 comment:

Thank you for taking the time to give us your comments!