Within the last few weeks, residents around the Foothills may have noticed an influx of black and orange coloured beetles congregating at the sides of their house.

The insects are known as "Box Elder Bugs" and manager of the invertebrate collection at the University of Calgary John Swann says, not to worry if you find them in your home, as they're mostly harmless.

"Basically they wont bite you, they wont feed on plants in the house, they feed on - as the name implies, Box Elder trees, Maple trees and Ash trees."

So what are they looking for? Swann says, they're trying to find a home for the winter.

"They mass congregate to go into hibernation. If you get warm weather they'll come out on the sides of the house and they'll also try to get inside of the house for hibernation. They'll try to get into the shingles, into attics, into sidings anywhere that's just a little bit warmer."

Other than being a nuisance, Swann says Box Elders have a tendency to "spot" furniture and textiles.

"The only problem is basically their poop, believe it or not, can spot things. That's the only real problem you can get with Box Elder Bugs, other then they can be annoying. It's more of a visual annoyance thing, with a whole bunch of them creeping out on the side of your house when the heating comes on."

Urban Forester with the town of High River Darlene Donovan says, if you want to get rid of any Box Elder Bugs in your house, vacuuming is your best option.

"They're not harmful or anything, the bugs are mainly just looking to settle into a warm spot for the winter. You just want to be sure if your going to get rid of them, don't spray them or anything like that. Your best bet is to vacuum them up with a shop vac with a little soap and water at the bottom of it. If you do kill them inside your home or walls it'll actually attract other insects."

Donovan says doing a quick inspection around your house for any open areas, should keep the critters from loitering in your home.

"Just make sure you don't have any wood piles close to the house, or any holes in your window sills or basement, just seal those up and it should keep them out."


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