During the summer of 2011, customers in the Boise area started having issues with an Insect that very closely resembled Box Elder bugs, but were much smaller. In 2012, experts from the University of Idaho identified the mystery bug as an Elm Seed Bug, shown below:
It turns out that southwestern Idaho was where this bug was first discovered in the lower 48. Though the distinction may be dubious, as Idahoans we should all be very proud.
The ESB originates from South Central Europe, and like most pests throughout the years, probably arrived as hitchhikers.
The Elm Seed Bug is a true bug (from the order Hemiptera), like Box Elder bugs or Bed Bugs (as opposed to fake bugs, the kind that your uncle Frank puts in your ice cube for a very lame gag).
Adult ESB’s overwinter, mate, and lay eggs in elm, Maple, oak, Linden, etc. trees during the spring. After hatching, these bugs feed on the seeds that have been dropped from various trees. Hence, they are a “seed” bug.
We have observed mid June to be the beginning of the Elm Seed Bug season (which would seem to coincide with the hatching of little ESB’s), that usually lasts until the beginning of winter.
As pictured below, ESB’s can arrive and invade homes and businesses in large numbers:
A couple of years ago, I saw a house that was absolutely covered. I took a video and posted it to YouTube:
Elm Seed bugs on a house
After a somewhat reduced Elm Seed Bug season last year, we have experienced the types of numbers and problems that we had been experiencing previously.
All is not lost. We recommend that, when possible, customers should rid themselves of elm trees, or other trees that ESB’s inhabit.
Regular perimeter treatments, with a focus around doors, windows, and other possible entry points are a must to prevent ESB’s from invading your home.
Also, do your best to seal up doors and windows and other openings. Install screens on doors and windows. Do your best to keep doors and windows closed, including garage doors, during this Elm Seed Bug season.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us. We consider ourselves the Elm Seed Bug experts!