Invasive insects bugging people in Osoyoos

Elm Seed and Tuxedo bugs are infesting homes in Osoyoos

An infestation of Elm Seed and Tuxedo Bugs has the Mayor of Osoyoos requesting help from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Sue McKortoff said calls started coming into the town’s office about a week ago with one resident coming into the office in person with a large jar filled with the invasive bugs.

(Video from Winfield, B.C. in 2017)

“They are on the (window) sills and they apparently come in the homes through any kind of crack. They don’t bite you, it’s not that. They are just annoying and I’ve had people crying on the phone because they can’t get rid of them and they are infested with them,” she said during a break at Thursday’s Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen meeting.

During a presentation to the board from Ministry of Transportation Infrastructure staff, McKortoff requested crews look into cutting down any Elm trees on provincial road allowances.

MOTI representatives could not comment on the issue at the board meeting and a request for information from media relations for the ministry was not received by press time.

McKortoff noted almost every homeowner on Larkspur Place, which backs onto Highway 97, has contacted the town’s office in the last week. There are several Elm trees on the road allowance there.

“The reason why I have these fellows (MOTI) involved is because the Elm trees are where these bugs feed on the seeds are backing on the properties of the people in the town, and it’s between there and the highway, so it actually is ministry of highway’s property,” she said.

Related: ‘Serious pest’ starting to invade the Okanagan Valley

Tuxedo bugs feed on plants in the mint family (black horehound, lambs ears, white mullein).

Elm Seed and Tuxedo bugs were first spotted in the Okanagan in the Rutland area of Kelowna in 2016 and reports of infestations in homes and business in Kelowna and surrounding communities continued in 2017. The bugs were first detected in the U.S. in Idaho in 2009 and have spread to Oregon, Washington and Utah.

They originate in Europe and the Mediterranean region and can now also be found in parts of China.

Adult Elm Seed bugs are 6.6 millimetres to 7mm in size and have a black triangle shape on their backs bordered by a rusty red triangle.

Tuxedo bugs are about 5mm to 6mm in size, dark brown to black with a triangle outlined in white and a white spot at the tip of the body.

The bugs do not cause damage to fruit or other crops, but are a nuisance to homeowners. Elm seed bugs emit unpleasant odours when crushed and their fecal droppings can be unsightly.

A release from the Ministry of Agriculture suggests tips in dealing with the bugs:

– use shop vacuum with one to two inches of soapy water in the bottom

– remove volunteer Elm trees, or prune to reduce food source

– use sticky traps for trapping bugs around window sills

– inspect firewood for overwintering adults

– treat immature stages of bugs outside the home with a barrier spary

– products containing permethrin, carbaryl and malathion


The Tuxedo Bug is infesting homes in Osoyoos. (Ministry of Agriculture)

Just Posted

Young mother dies in Highway 3 semi collision

According to friends the victim was on her way to work, to a job she started earlier in the week

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

‘Cowardly acts’ towards homeless continue in Osoyoos

RCMP confirm they are investigating two incidents of assault on a homeless person

Turning an Okanagan hospital’s medical waste into art

Safe recycled waste materials are being used by local artists to create art

Jail sentence for South Okanagan bank robber with ties to Surrey

The Surrey man convicted of the 2017 robbery of the Penticton Valley First sentenced to seven years

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

West Kelowna acquires land for Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

The city has acquired 24 acres on Bartley Road

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

Most Read