Autumn brings out the boxelder bugs

A boxelder bug

A boxelder bug

 

Recently, a distinctive-looking insect has been showing up in a number of places around our house. These dark, oval, flat-looking bugs have long antennae and reddish markings that come together in what appears as an inverted “v” across their backs. I’ve never seen them before, but they seem to be everywhere this year: on the side of our house, inside doorjambs, crawling across fences and windows.

A quick online search indicates the mystery critters are boxelder bugs. Although harmless to humans, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension lists boxelder bugs as pests because they can damage certain plants by feeding on their leaves, twigs, and developing seeds (naes.agnt.unr.edu/PMS/Pubs/2006-4051.pdf). Boxelder bugs reproduce quickly and travel in large numbers, which may be why there seem to be so many right now.

In autumn, boxelder bugs seek out places to spend the winter, and their droppings can stain walls and furniture if they get inside a home. Should you find boxelder bugs indoors, vacuum them up, seal the bag, and throw it away.

To help manage these critters and reduce their population, it’s recommended to remove yard debris and litter from around the home since they provide shelter for boxelder bugs. Avoid planting and/or remove existing female boxelder maple trees, as they are a main food source for the namesake insects. Keep bugs outside by sealing screen doors, windows, and any exterior cracks, and spray any congregating bugs with water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an informative leaflet about boxelder bugs that can be found online at fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev2_043721.pdf. Anyone else seeing these bugs around lately?


Coat giveaway and chili cook-off today

The FISH Ranchos Family Resource Center hosts their winter coat giveaway and chili cook-off from 3-6 p.m. today.

All are welcome to stop by and sample some tasty recipes and pick up some free winter outerwear. Immunize Nevada is offering flu shots and COVID vaccines at the event, and Carson Valley Medical Center will have some fun giveaway items.

Fish Ranchos FRC is located at 921 Mitch Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos. Call 775-265-3474 with any questions.


Partial lunar eclipse tonight

If the clouds cooperate, skywatchers could be in for a treat tonight.

NASA reports that the full moon will move partway through the Earth’s shadow starting just after 11 p.m., resulting in a partial lunar eclipse (solarsystem.nasa.gov). This partial eclipse reaches its maximum shadow coverage at 1 a.m., when the moon may take on a reddish-brown hue. The show ends at approximately 2:45 a.m.

The annual Leonids meteor shower is at its peak, although the full moon’s bright light and iffy weather conditions may well impede the chances of seeing a shooting star this evening. Don’t despair if tonight’s viewing circumstances aren’t ideal. 2022 brings us two more lunar eclipse viewing opportunities, one in May and another in November. Both will be total lunar eclipses.

The total lunar eclipse that took place this past May was spectacularly visible from the Carson Valley. As of this writing, today’s weather forecast calls for light rain, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that tonight’s partial eclipse will provide some late-night eye candy for anyone willing to stay up late.


Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment