Biggest batch of box elder bugs since 1988
ST. PAUL (AP) - Bug experts say recent weather conditions will give the Twin Cities area its biggest hatch of box elder bugs since 1988.
"It appears that conditions were just right," said entomologist Jeffrey Hahn. "We had the warm spring and then the dry summer - conditions that are right for a big hatch."
Experts say if one black-and-orange bug is found, chances are thousands more are nearby. They often cover the bark on female box elder trees and sometimes blanket other maples.
The bugs are more of a nuisance than anything, and they don't bite people.
Hahn said there are ways to keep them from invading a house.
"Caulk and seal," Hahn said. "After that, a judicious use of pesticides" is the best way to fight back. Many homeowners also spray box elders with a mixture of laundry soap or dish detergent and water.
This year's large hatch comes as Minneota celebrates its 125th anniversary and its annual Boxelder Bug Days - a festival famous for its box elder bug races.
Bill Holm, a Minneota resident and literature and writing professor at Southwest Minnesota State University at Marshall, wrote about the bugs in "Boxelder Bug Variations," a 1985 collection of poems, prose and music.
Learn to live with them, Holm suggested. "They don't do any real damage."