|The elm seed bug, commonly found in Europe, was discovered in southwestern Idaho. Image source: The Associated Press.|
BOISE, Idaho – An invasive insect commonly found in Europe has turned up in southwestern Idaho, the Associated Press reports.
This is the first time the elm seed bug has been spotted in the United States, federal officials told the AP. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery, and said the elm seed bugs do not pose a threat to trees, but tend to enter houses and buildings in large swarms.
The Idaho Department of Agriculture issued a statement Wednesday warning that the bugs recently found in Ada and Canyon counties can prove to be a “significant nuisance” for homeowners. Elm seed bugs invade homes during the summer to escape heat, then stick around through the winter, the department said.
The quarter-inch pests feed on elm tree seeds and resemble tiny brown cockroaches with triangular back markings. They do not pose a public health risk, but they can have an unpleasant odor, “especially when crushed,” according to Pamela Juker, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Agriculture Department.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is expert to recommend ways to manage the pests.
Residents who come across the elm seed bugs are being asked to collect a handful in a plastic sandwich bag and mail them to the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s plant division in Boise.