Brick bugs, also known as boxelder bugs, are a common pest that causes problems when they invade homes, sheds, and garages in the fall and emerge in the spring. These bugs overwinter in large numbers, making them an annoyance to homeowners. They are known for their black and red coloration and their tendency to release a foul odor when disturbed. In this article, we will discuss how to identify, prevent, and get rid of brick bugs.
Identifying Brick Bugs
Brick bugs, also known as red velvet mites, are small arachnids that belong to the Trombidiidae family. They are found all over the world and have a distinctive red, velvety appearance.
These bugs are typically 1-5 mm long and have a bright red or orange color. They have long, hairy legs and an oval-shaped body. Unlike many other mites, brick bugs are visible with the naked eye. They are often found in gardens and other outdoor areas where they feed on other small insects.
Types of Brick Bugs
There are many different species of brick bugs, including the true red velvet mite (Dinothrombium spp.), the large red velvet mite (Trombidium spp.), and the brick mite (Trombidium holosericeum). These bugs can look very similar, but they can be distinguished by certain characteristics.
The true red velvet mite is the largest of the group, measuring up to 10 mm long. It has a distinct black patch on its back and short, stubby legs. The large red velvet mite has longer, more slender legs and a dark, velvety appearance. It can grow up to 5 mm long. The brick mite, on the other hand, is the smallest of the three, measuring only 2-3 mm long. It has a bright, brick-red color and long, skinny legs.
While brick bugs are generally harmless to humans, they can become a nuisance if they invade homes or other indoor spaces. If you notice an infestation of these bugs, it is best to contact a pest control professional to help with removal.
Problems Caused by Brick Bugs
Brick bugs, also known as boxelder bugs, can cause problems when they invade homes, sheds, garages, and other structures built with brick. They often become a problem in the fall and spring when they seek shelter in warm places. Brick bugs do not cause structural damage to homes or buildings, but they can be a nuisance as they can stain and leave behind an unpleasant odor. These bugs can also attract other pests such as spiders and rodents, which can cause damage to structures.
Pests Attracted to Brick Bugs
Other pests such as spiders and rodents can be attracted to brick bug infestations. If left untreated, these pests can cause structural damage and health risks. To deal with brick bugs and other pests, it is recommended to seal all entry points such as gaps around windows and doors, repair any cracks and crevices in walls, and use insecticides to treat infested areas. It is also important to maintain cleanliness and remove any food sources to prevent pest infestations.
Preventing Brick Bugs
Brick bugs can be a nuisance once they invade your property, but there are steps you can take to prevent them from infesting your property in the first place.
Mitigating Risk for Brick Bug Infestations
There are factors that increase the likelihood of brick bug infestations, such as cracks or gaps in the foundation or masonry walls that allow them to enter. To mitigate the risk of infestations, it is important to use mortar or cement to patch any holes or cracks in the foundation and fill any gaps in the masonry walls. Additionally, remove any damaged bricks and replace them with new ones, ensuring that the joints are properly filled with mortar. Regularly inspect and replace rotting wood or trim, as well as repair or replace any damaged sections of siding or cladding.
Treating Brick Bug Infestations
Brick bugs can be a nuisance in homes and buildings, but there are ways to safely treat and prevent their infestations.
Professional Brick Bug Removal Services
If you are dealing with a severe brick bug infestation, it may be best to hire a professional removal service. These services have the knowledge and experience to effectively eliminate the bugs without causing harm to you or your property. However, it is important to note that these services can be costly, and may not be necessary for minor infestations.
DIY Methods for Treating Brick Bugs
If you are looking for a more cost-effective option, there are several DIY methods for treating brick bugs. First, ensure that all cracks, gaps, and crevices in your home’s exterior are sealed with mortar or caulking to prevent the bugs from entering. You can also use a wet masonry sponge with warm water to carefully clean the affected areas. Additionally, natural remedies such as neem oil or diatomaceous earth can be effective in repelling and eliminating brick bugs.
Preventing Future Brick Bug Infestations
Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding future brick bug infestations. Regularly inspect your home’s exterior for any cracks, gaps, or damaged bricks, and promptly repair or replace them as needed. Keep your home clean and free of clutter to eliminate potential hiding spots for the bugs. If you have landscaping around your home, keep it trimmed and maintained to reduce potential entry points for the bugs.
While brick structures can provide a solid barrier against some pest invaders, brick bugs are quite a persistent pest. Brick bugs can invade homes, sheds, and garages in search of shelter in the fall and even when they emerge in the spring. They can be found trying to access your home through any cracks present in the brickwork or other openings, no matter how small.
Proper maintenance of your brick properties can go a long way in deterring brick bugs from entering, especially filling any gaps, cracks, or holes in the brickwork. To keep bugs out, use mortar or cement to patch foundations and masonry walls. Clear away damaged bricks and add new ones, filling the joints with mortar. Replace rotting wood or trim, and repair or replace damaged sections of siding or cladding.
Wet a masonry sponge with warm water, carefully clean the brickwork, rinsing the sponge as you go, and use a nylon-bristled brush to gently scrub as needed. Follow with a final warm water rinse with a clean sponge, and allow the brickwork to dry properly.
While homes made of brick may be more difficult for termites to enter, brick bugs can invade brick structures relatively easily. This is because brick bugs are quite small and can gain entry into buildings through small openings. Unlike trombidiid mites, brick bugs can become a problem in both residential and commercial settings.
Preventing brick bug infestations and promptly dealing with any issues are essential in maintaining the structural integrity of a brick property. Timely action can help you avoid extensive damage repair and reduce the risk of repeat infestations.