Elm Seed Bug not just bugging Idahoans, they're invading homes

Credit: Eric Turner/ KTVB

Elm Seed Bug not just bugging Idahoans, they're invading homes

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 18 at 6:11 PM

BOISE – A bug introduced just last year in the Treasure Valley and really the US, is back and worse than last year. We're talking about the Elm Seed Bug.

It's a small bug with an 'X' on its back.

The US and Idaho Departments of Agriculture are still learning about these bugs, while many of us can't kill them fast enough.

2012 was bad, and this year is worse when it comes to the sheer number of these little in southwest Idaho.

While it's not what a lot of people want to hear, there's not a lot that can be done to get rid of them.

There's a reason we say we're being 'bugged' when we're annoyed. While the Elm Seed Bug is fairly new to the Treasure Valley, they are truly bugging a lot of people.

Mike Stanton with Zamzows says he has a few at his home but nothing like what other people have.

"This year is probably the worst we've seen for a long time, and they are everywhere," said Stanton.

Somehow introduced last year in west Idaho, they're spreading, with really nothing standing in their way.

"When they first showed up we tried a lot of different sprays because people would bring them in a plastic bag,” said Stanton. “We'd spray product in a bag and seal it back up. Those guys are good at playing dead. They'd fall to the bottom of the bag and then 20 minutes later they're up walking through it.”

For the past several weeks people have been calling places like Zamzows and the Idaho Department of Agriculture wanting help to get rid of these bugs.

While they don't damage buildings, plants, people or pets, they are invading homes.

"They know where the air conditioner is at," said Stanton. “I mean they creep in through small cracks and crevices or your windows and doors. They come in to share the air conditioning with you.”

So pesticides don't really work, and inside your home that's really not an option. If you squish them, they stink. So what do we do?

"Best thing to do is seal up the house, make sure there's no cracks or crevices, torn screens. Make sure they can't crawl underneath the door. And then indoors, just use a vacuum cleaner," said Stanton.

And even that is temporary, because one homeowner we spoke to, who didn’t want to go on camera says, regardless of what they do, they still kill at least a dozen each day. And that's bugging them.

"And I hate to tell you that, but there's nothing we can do to control them, but until they come up with a spray for them, that's what we're stuck with," said Stanton.

In addition to no man-made way to kill large numbers of these bugs, they have no natural predators.

So they're going to continue to spread until something or someone comes up with a solution.

Experts say it's likely that the worst is behind us, but we can still expect another few weeks of these bugs invading our homes.

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