Box elder bug invasion 'worst in 25 years' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Box elder bug invasion 'worst in 25 years'

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Problems from Iowa's mild winter and hot, dry summer continue.  The latest issue to surface:  a surge in the number of box elder bugs.

Several pest control companies say they've been seeing box elder bugs since July.  That's months before the bugs usually appear during the fall.  The bad news, it's not easy to get rid of them.  But thankfully, they're just pests, and nature will help kick them to the curb soon.

A Donald Street home in Waterloo is coated with box elder bugs, and pest experts say it's actually a rather mild case.

"We've done homes that were top to bottom, you couldn't see the paint because it was just black with box elder bugs," said Josh Rzepka with Enviro-Pest Solutions.

In fact, the box elder bug invasion in 2012 may just be the worst one in decades.

"Speaking with other technicians, it's about the worst they've seen in 20 to 25 years.  The warm winter kind of helped feed the population," said Adam Peterson with Plunkett's Pest Control.

Experts say home remedies just do not cut it when it comes to getting rid of the creepy crawlers.

"I would stay away from the do-it-yourself products at the stores, and don't water them down.  It won't do you any good," said Rzepka.

"We have a chemical we apply to the houses.  We treat the eaves and any other places they're able to get in," Peterson said.

Luckily, the pests will only bug you.  They don't cause property damage and aren't disease carrying.  Experts say when hard frost hits, most of the critters will be killed off.  But there are things you can do to help keep them at bay next year.

"Seal as many cracks and crevices as you can:  around doors, windows, things like that.  Make sure they just have no place to hide," said Rzepka.

Some pest control companies do offer preventative sprays for box elders and other fall pests. But such measures might not totally eliminate the bugs from invading your property.

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