The Risks of Elm Seed Bugs

Elm seed bugs are thought to have spread worldwide from Italy starting in the 1990s and have only recently become a problem in Vancouver, Canada and other parts of North America. They aren’t known to present any health risks, but it is important to know more about them so that you know why elm seed bug control is so important.

Elm Seed Bug 101

Elm seed bugs are sometimes mistaken for similar pests like the stink bug and the boxelder bug. But they are different in species, appearance, and behavior. Some of the most recognizable characteristics of elm seed bugs include:

  • 1/3 inch long (smaller than boxelder bugs)
  • Dark rust-red and black coloration
  • Upside-down black triangle on the back

As their name suggests, elm trees are an important source of food and shelter in the elm seed bug’s lives. They often begin to cause problems for people as adults when they move out of the trees and into the gutters, siding, and attics of houses and other buildings.

Signs Of An Elm Seed Bug Problem

Even though they aren’t dangerous elm seed bugs are unpleasant to have around for a number of reasons including:

  • Bad Odor – They release a foul smell similar to bitter almonds when to mark their territory or fend off threats. Squashing them only makes the smell worse.
  • Swarming – They tend to invade houses in large numbers making removal more difficult and their presence even more unpleasant.
  • Long-Lived – They can live for three to five years and so have to migrate in search of better weather before the winter, making them an annual problem.

Seeing or smelling them are the clearest signs of an elm seed bug problem. If the building is located near elm trees, has cracks around the windows or doors, and doesn’t check wood products like firewood before bringing it indoors, it’s more likely to play host to elm seed bugs.

What To Do About An Elm Seed Bug Problem

At Local Pest, we recommend preventing elm seed bug infestation by sealing and proactively treating potential entry points like door and window frames with pesticides. Cleaning debris from gutters and destroying elm tree seeds and brush from the ground nearby can also help.

If elm seed bugs are found indoors, treating the problem quickly is critical since they arrive in large numbers and live a long time compared to other insect pests. If improperly treated an elm seed bug infestation will only become a bigger problem over time.