Elm seed bugs are taking over Utah homes

Jul 12, 2023, 6:17 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2023, 11:13 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Uninvited guests are crawling into Utahns’ homes, causing headaches for many residents.

Pest control experts like Bryce Bollinger told KSL TV he has gotten an increase in calls to get rid of these buggy invaders.

“I think it does get worse every year,” Bollinger expressed.

Bollinger, a technician and wildlife specialist with Pest Pro Pest Control, said these bugs make themselves comfortable outside walls, doors and windows during the summer to escape the heat.

“When they get too hot, they just curl into the doors, the windows, and that’s really where we start to see people give us calls,” Bollinger explained.

Bryce Bollinger spraying bug spray. (Shelby Lofton/KSL TV)

While people have called him to eliminate boxelder bugs, he said these invading bugs are elm seed bugs. The difference between the two is that boxelders are typically seen in spring and fall and are a bit bigger.

“Elm seed bugs are much smaller, which makes them even more of a pest. They can creep in even smaller gaps in windows,” Bollinger said. “They have kind of a terrible smell. It smells like bitter almonds if you crush them.”

When they do, he said it’s hard to get the tiny insects out of homes, with the permanent siltation being pretty costly.

“The only permanent solution is ripping out any elm trees,” Bollinger said.

Elm seed bugs can often be spotted in the bark, especially when they first start hatching.

“They feed on the elm seeds, and they’re just really good propagating,” Bollinger said.

Besides elm seed bugs, Bollinger is eliminating yellowjackets, wasps and oriental cockroaches in the Salt Lake City area. He blames the long winter and the wet spring for putting the insects in a longer hibernation.

Since most residents can’t remove all their trees and greenery around their homes, Bollinger suggests a solid physical barrier.

“Making sure all of the seals on doors and windows with either weather stripping or good caulking or foam filler, making sure those seals are very, very tight,” he said.

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Elm seed bugs are taking over Utah homes