The Conifer Seed Bug can cause a lot of concern as they try to make their way into your house. Learn how to identify, prevent, and remove these insects as well as others.
During the fall it’s not uncommon to see the Western Conifer Seed Bug lingering around your homes exterior. These insects were first discovered in the Western United States, but over time have made their way east.
The Seed Bug can be a disturbing site as they invade space around windows and doorways, usually on the sunnier sides of your home. Their main mission is to find a nice warm place to spend the winter months. They attempt to enter your home through it’s most vulnerable spots i.e., small cracks near windows and doors.
What Do Seed Bugs Look Like?
The Western Conifer Seed Bug has a body length of about 3/4”. It has several color variations along its body, ranging from light tan, to orange, and dark brown. The seed bug often gets confused with similar looking insects such as kissing bugs, or stink bugs. Seed bugs however can easily be identified by 3 unique characteristics:
1. The hind legs are distinctly widened for a small section toward the end of the leg.
2. There’s a pale white zig zag pattern on the wings.
3. Overall body is more lengthy as opposed to round.
Seed Bug Vs. Stink Bug
A lot of people mistakenly call Seed Bugs Stink Bugs. Perhaps the biggest reason is that when you kill a Seed Bug by squishing it, it will stink, just as bad as a Stink Bug. So people tend to refer to the two insects as being the same even though they are different:
You can see the Stink Bug is much rounder.
Another reason people tend to treat these two insects as the same is because other then some physical differences they are very similar in behavior.
Both Seed Bugs and Stink Bugs will try to enter your house when the weather is getting cold in fall. They will also become active in early spring and may try to enter your home in spring to avoid some of the colder days during the spring season.
They both usually seem to be lounging around, barely moving. When they do move they prefer to crawl slowly.
Another similarity is both don’t bite and overall they are harmless to humans.
Although creepy looking, Seed Bugs will not damage your home. They can however be a nuisance pest to your local ecosystem. Since adults feed on the seeds within pine cones, they prevent conifers from growing which can have negative effects in woodland ecosystems.
In spring/early summer, adult Seed Bugs come out of their winter hide outs and feed on pinecones and seeds. After this period of feeding, Seed Bugs lay eggs on the needles of conifers.
After 10 days the eggs will hatch and the nymphs feed on pine cone scales and needles.
By mid August these nymphs become fully grown.
In early fall these adult Seed Bugs look to enter buildings and homes so they have a warm place to spend the winter so the cycle can start over again in the spring.
How to Get Rid of Seed Bugs
Manual removal is the best method for getting rid of these slow moving insects. If you find a Seed Bug inside your home, use a paper towel to pick it up and flush it down the toilet, or release back outside.
Another method is to fill a bowl with soapy water and use a paper towel to place them in the bowl.
Whatever you do, do not crush Seed Bugs in the paper towel, just pick them up gently. This will minimize the odor they give off. Crushing them is the worst thing you can do because they will give off a more intense odor.
Some people vacuum up Seed Bugs using a shop vac, and then release them outside. This isn’t the worst method, but it can still agitate them enough to release their odor.
How to Prevent Seed Bugs from Entering House
Preventing Seed Bugs from entering your house is much better then dealing with them once inside. The best part is if you follow these prevention steps you’re not only preventing Seed Bugs from entering, you’re preventing other home invaders such as Stink Bugs, Kissing Bugs, Asian Lady Beetles, and other insects.
1. Latch windows! Sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how many people go through an entire winter with their window closed, but not latched. You can see as you latch your window how much tighter it seals the frame. Latching your window will likely decrease gaps by 1/4”. That’s all the space an insect needs to get through.
2. Caulk around windows, doors, pipe penetrations, and any other void along the exterior of your house. It’s not just windows and doors that insects can get through. Carefully inspect your home’s exterior for any small cracks or openings.
3. Make sure screens are in place and repair any that are damaged. This adds another barrier to your windows.
4. Apply insecticide barrier sprays on outside of house. This should be used as a last resort for more serious infestations. Products that contain the chemical Permethrin have been proven to prevent Seed Bugs. This insecticide should be used as a barrier spray and sprayed around your homes foundation, doors, and window frames, all on the exterior of your house.
5. Hire a pro! Hiring your local bug guy is always a great idea if you think you have an infestation that requires extra attention. There’s never anything wrong with getting some professional opinions. A local, licensed company will be up to date on local restrictions and codes and will be able to give you the best advice on how to treat the problem.
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