In the past month or so, when I've stepped out onto my front porch, I've been swarmed by tiny black and red bugs that I've never seen before.

There are hundreds of them, and for a second, I wondered if maybe I'd left something out on my porch on accident (it's where I keep my trash before it's picked up). Are they like flies, attracted to rancid smells in the garbage? I also thought maybe it was one of the many succulents I keep on my porch, luring the little bugs in.

Here's a photo of one of the bugs, if you're curious:

Madi Scruggs, TSM

According to Colorado State University's Extension site, these bugs are no new visitors to Fort Collins or Northern Colorado: they've been around for a while. These are boxelder bugs, and they often hatch in early fall and crawl into cracks in walls on exteriors of homes.

CSU Extension says:

The boxelder bug overwinters as an adult in protected places such as houses and other buildings, in cracks or crevices in walls, doors, under windows and around foundations, particularly on south and west exposures.

These bugs are fans of the boxelder tree, and especially love feeding on boxelder seed bods, hence their name. They're a known nuisance to our area, but how, exactly, can we be rid of them once and for all?

The real question...will I ever be able to walk across my porch again without getting swarmed?

The answer is yes, of course. PestWorld.org says one of the best ways to prevent infestations is to seal up cracks in home exteriors using caulk. The other, easier thing to do? Just wait until spring, when they all head back outside again. Easy enough.

I may have to deal with the massive herds of boxelder bugs around my porch right now, but no doubt the little bugs will say 'sayonara' when the first snow comes around, and by then, we'll have other things to deal with. Gotta love all of Colorado's creatures, right?

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