Vaudreuil-Dorion residents tackle Boxelder bug infestation

By John Jantak



PHOTO COURTESY SUE LEECH

This season’s proliferation of Boxelder bugs – named as they’re often found on Boxelder trees as well as Maple and Ash trees – has been particularly populous due to recent warm and sunny weather.


A large infestation of Boxelder bugs outside some homes in Vaudreuil-Dorion has the homeowners scrambling to try to find a solution to control the pests that have plagued their properties since August.

“Last summer they were just on the Hydro pole that’s basically on the city’s property and I told them about it last year but nothing really happened,” Sue Lafrance Leech told The Journal. “This year they’re all on my fence (near) where the city’s property is and now they’re all the way down about five houses from our house which didn’t have any insects previously.”

The unusually large numbers of insects has homeowners in a number of neighbourhoods scrambling to keep them under control including Leech who has been vigorously trying to eradicate the insects from her property for almost two months.

Ongoing battle

Leech said she spends at least two hours a day trying to get rid of them, sucking them up with a Shop Vac filled with a small amount of soapy water and spraying them with bottles of soap and water which is what a representative from the city advised residents to do to keep the insects from multiplying. She’s also concerned that if the insects get into her house they will overwinter themselves in the attic.

“I’ve already seen them in my house and they’re getting into cars. Basically all they do is mate,” said Leech. “One day last week it was crazy. I was sitting on the couch and I looked outside and they were flying everywhere. My neighbour was outdoors spraying and we can’t even give you an amount of insects that we killed that day. As soon as they came out, there was like a swarm of them.”


PHOTO COURTESY SUE LEECH

Despite multiple efforts to minimize the Boxelder bug infestation by spraying them with soap and water, Vaudreuil-Dorion resident Sue Leech and her neighbours are having a hard time keeping their population in check.


Insecticidal soap recommended

Representatives Oriana Farina and Judith Lardy-Nadeau from the city’s environment department said this year’s infestation of Boxelder bugs is unique and advise people to do what they can to keep the insects under control.

“The best thing we recommend is to use insecticidal soap to spray directly on the bugs to kill them. The second thing is to use a vacuum cleaner like a Shop-Vac. Remove the bag and put a little bit of soapy water on the bottom which will also kill the bugs,” said Environmental Advisor Lardy-Nadeau.

“We found this is the best solution because if you want to use stronger pesticides it creates other problems such as killing all the bugs on your property that could attract mice and other undesirable animals,” she added.

Unique situation this year

Lardy-Nadeau said it’s unusual to have so many Boxelder bugs and that the situation this year is unique. “We basically have a few bugs each year. One possible reason for the large number of insects is there’s a peak in the population which explodes one year and then goes back to normal the next year,” she said.

The good news about the insects is that while there’s an unusually large number of them this year, they aren’t harmful to people, animals, or the environment. “They’re not dangerous for the trees and they’re not a danger if they get into the house. They’re just basically inconvenient to have,” said Lardy-Nadeau

“Homeowners may be frustrated by the amount of work it takes to address the Boxelder bug issue but it’s the best strategy to keep the insects under control this year,” she added.


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