By Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Boxelder bugs are out in full force this year. Many Minnesotans took to social media with photos and videos of the invasion.

Mary Vannelli thought she was going to have a year where she didn’t have to deal with nuisance pest.

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“I was so happy to be outside. There were no gnats, there were no mosquitos and I thought, ‘Yay! There’s gonna be no boxelder bugs this year!’ But I guess I’m wrong,” Vannelli said.

Swarmed across Vannelli’s home are the six-legged insects. While the drought and heat seemed to have caused the boxelder bug influx, experts say that’s not necessarily the case. WCCO spoke Tuesday with Erin Buchholz, a pest management specialist at with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

“Every few years, maybe three to five years, we’ll get a year with heavy infestation of boxelder bugs,” Buchholz said. “I don’t know if there’s an answer for why, but it’s just something we’ve dealt with a long time.”

(credit: CBS)

Because the heavy infestation only happens once in a few years, Buchholz said it makes sense why people are caught off guard.

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“The good news is they do not cause structural damage, they do not breed inside your home, they don’t carry disease either,” Buchholz said.

Boxelder bugs congregate near homes to stay warm and seek shelter. The insects are attracted to sunny-warm areas.

Experts say the best way to manage and prevent boxelder bugs from getting inside your home is to seal up any possible entry points, using scents and even vacuuming.

“I don’t recommended spraying because if it’s strong enough to kill boxelder bugs, it’s probably strong enough to kill pollinators,” Buchholz said. “And we certainly don’t want to hurt them. We need them for plant health and food.”

If you’re not up for the task to limit the amount of insects on your property, you’ll just have to tolerate it — at least until the winter when the bugs hibernate.

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“They are a nuisance, and they’re kind of startling,” Vannelli said. “All of a sudden they’ll get up and fly.”

Pafoua Yang