Maple Bugs have become more pervasive in Southern Saskatchewan during the fall-like weather, but they are also making an appearance in some parts of East-Central Saskatchewan.
Dr. James Tansey, the province's entomologist says the reason people are seeing an influx of these pesky creatures in their yards is due to the changing of weather and seasons.
“You’re seeing a concentration primarily of adults and what they’re doing is looking for a warm sheltered place and unfortunately that can be people’s home,” says Dr. Tansey. “They are excellent flyers and can cover several kilometres.”
If you’re wondering if maple bugs are attracted to certain building materials that you may have in or on your house, the answer is not in the slightest according to Dr. Tansey.
“I wouldn’t describe them as traditionally intelligent, so making complex decisions based on siding choices – is probably unlikely. They’re just looking for places that seem to be obvious sources of shelter.”
The burning question remains, what is the best way to deter maple bugs from entering or attaching to your house?
“Limit points of entry, that’s the best way to engage in cultural control. That includes your soffits, especially if you have access to the attic through your soffits and then they can have easy access to your home. They are really good at squeezing into tight spots. Vents are a possible point of entry and little cracks in your windows and walls.”
There is the myth that spraying the maple bugs with soap and water will kill or sway the insect from returning, but Tansey says that may not work in this case.
Tansey says that soap is really effective on smaller soft body insects like aphids, as insects don’t breathe their mouths, they have what are called spiracles, which are openings on the sides of their bodies and don’t have lungs as we do.
“Larger animals like maple bugs are going to be big and robust enough to get themselves clean. It will be uncomfortable for them and there is a chance it could just sway them.”
Those that may not want to completely seal their house can also apply a barrier spray with a group three synthetic pyrethroid insecticide that can be bought at a hardware store.
“In my opinion just excluding them from entering the building is the easiest and least expensive way of doing it and you’re keeping other critters out as well.”
Lastly, Tansey said maple bugs are relatively harmless. They are pierce-sucking insects but do not feed on blood. However, Tansey said maple bugs can bite humans but it is rare.
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