TROY, Mich. – Mark VanderWerp, manager of education and training at Rose Pest Solutions, recently captured an invasive species new to Michigan, the Elm Seed Bug.
VanderWerp, a board certified entomologist, first spotted the unidentified insect in the backyard of his Birmingham home in mid summer. The insects matched others found by a Rose Pest Solutions technician, and VanderWerp suspected they were Elm Seed Bugs, which the USDA APHIS later confirmed. The invasive species is native to Europe and has, in the last three years, become established in Oregon, Idaho and Utah. This is believed to be the first confirmed spotting of the Elm Seed Bug east of the Rockies.
While VanderWerp says the bugs aren’t known to do much damage to the elm trees they feed off of, they can invade homes when they look for protected places to spend the winter months. The bugs also release an offensive odor that can be vexing to homeowners, VanderWerp adds.
“We will be watching these bugs closely in 2016 to see what they do,” said VanderWerp. “As they are brand new to Michigan, we really don’t know how rapidly they will spread and how big of a nuisance they will be for local residents.”
According to VanderWerp, a tightly sealed home is the best way to prevent an invasion. Sealing cracks in walls and tears in screens will help out. Also a well-timed exterior application by a pest management professional can reduce numbers considerably.
“In the case of infestation, vacuuming the bugs is an effective method to remove them, but time consuming,” said VanderWerp, “ be aware the bugs’ odor will leave your vacuum cleaner smelling funky.”
The Elm Seed Bug overwinters so infested homeowners likely will not see activity until spring. For professional assistance with home infestations, contact Rose Pest Solutions at 1-877-746-0224.