Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

It’s beetle season in Lake Country

Boxelder beetles are coming out from the warmth of the tree roots

The sun is shining and the bugs are out.

Lake Country residents are complaining about an infestation of small beetles that recently appeared in an apartment complex on Bottom Wood Lake Road, said strata president Kelly Oram.

“It’s like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie,” he said.

The bugs, known as boxelder beetles, are black with red lines and are appearing in large numbers at the apartment. The young are red in colour.

The beetles typically nest in tree roots to stay warm during the winter and come when the weather reaches about 10 C, said president of BugMaster Pest Control Steve Ball. He believes the bugs are native to the Okanagan and has been dealing with them for a number of years.

“The prime host of these insects are the boxelder tree, although they also feed on maples, almond fruits, and apples, strawberries, prunes, pears and other fruit,” according to the BugMaster website.

“Adults leave their overwintering sites between March and April, where mating and egg-laying takes place. Adults often become gregarious and assemble on the south sides of trees, rocks, and buildings to warm themselves in the sun. After large masses of bugs accumulate, they tend to fly to nearby buildings or other protected sites where they hibernate for the winter, usually within the walls, if a structure is involved.”

To deal with the bugs, pesticides work but it’s impossible to completely exterminate them, said Ball.

The bugs have also been spotted in other parts of the Okanagan, including Peachland and Kelowna.

The pests are harmless, but they are a nuisance to homeowners, said Ball.

Oram said the bugs are appearing in shady areas of the apartment. Residents said the bugs have been around for the past few years.

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Boxelder beetles at a home in Lake Country. - Credit: Nora Legault

Boxelder beetles at a home in Lake Country. - Credit: Nora Legault