Monday, March 12, 2012

Hordes of Boxelder Bugs - Oh My! (Updated)

(See update at the end of this post.)

As I drove into the garage after work this evening, some dark areas under the picture window at the front of our house caught my eye. I couldn't think what they could be -- from a distance I wondered if some dark ivy was suddenly growing up the brickwork. When I approached, I could hardly believe what I was seeing: thousands, surely, thousands of boxelder bugs. Take a look.

We routinely do get clusters of boxelder bugs on our south-facing house, especially on sunny fall days following a cold spell. I've taken photos and written about them before: in October 2007 and in October 2009. I've never seen swarms anything like what I saw today, and certainly never such huge swarms in the spring. This is such an odd season -- today, a rainy day in the 50s, would normally be a warm day for the second week of March. Instead, it was a relatively cool day in a string of days in the 60s and projected to reach 70 later this week. No wonder the insects are behaving strangely.  Maybe we'll have frogs and locusts next.

Here's a short video clip of this extraordinary sight.

Update, March 14: At about 10:30 yesterday morning when I stopped at home briefly, the large clusters were still there, looking very much as they did above. However, the sun was shining fully on the bugs in the left-most clump and there was a lot of activity, with bugs crawling over each other predominantly in a downward direction toward the ground. The clusters that were still shaded were completely still. When I returned at around 5:00 the clusters had completely dispersed. There were still some bugs here and there on the front of the house, but there were no longer any clusters.


Michael Moore said...

We had lots of boxelder bugs when we lived in Utah -- not as many as you've got, but enough to sweep the dead ones off the porch each day.

We ended up sprinkling borax powder which helped, but didn't cure the problem.

What did you do with them? Did you just leave them there?

Penelopedia said...

Michael - yes , I left them there. I assume they will disperse on their own soon enough. They aren't finding their way into the house, and if they do I guess we will sweep or vacuum them up.

troutbirder said...

Ah another Minnesota blogger. Very nice & sorry I've missed you before. Love your nature pics expecially birds and flowers. The box elder bugs though you can keep in Northfield. We live in rural Bluff County south of Rochester. Thanks...

Penelopedia said...

Troutbirder - thanks for stopping by! I have visited your blog from time to time and enjoyed it. I'll advise the boxelder bugs that they are not welcome in Bluff Country.