Saskatchewan

Maple bugs are back and they might be worse than ever

Maple bugs, boxelder bugs, or pests, call them what you will, the bugs are back in a big way. The insects have infiltrated homes, gardens and apparently even Regina's Legislative Building.

The orange and black nuisances have been seen in droves across the province

Boxelder bugs live in Manitoba Maple trees, common in the Prairies. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

The pesky little bugs are back, and according one of the province's top entomologists, they're back in higher numbers than he's ever seen.

Cedric Gillott, biology professor emeritus University of Saskatchewan, has "an enormous number of them" at his acreage south of Saskatoon. 

The native species, Gillott explained, goes through a population cycle every seven to nine years much like tent caterpillars. What we're seeing right now is population peak during the cycle of the bug.

But will they do any damage?

"Oh no," said Gillott. "They're more of a nuisance than a pest." 

Maple Bugs lay eggs on Boxelder, Ash, and — you guessed it — Maple trees. More Manitoba Maple trees in Saskatchewan may contribute to more bugs. 

However, if you have male Manitoba Maples the bugs won't lay eggs on them, instead, they prefer female trees. 

Once it gets cold the bugs look for warmth and a spot to hibernate during the winter, which explains the intruding insects coming in to homes apartments and even the Legislative Building.