KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "It was like the ladybug apocalypse," Ray Johnson said.
Johnson, the owner of Johnson Pest Control in Sevierville, Tennessee, said his company received dozens of calls about the bugs last week. As winter crept in, so did the crawlers.
"Well, the fall invaders, they're just coming out. It's their time of year," Johnson said.
Those "fall invaders" included the boxelder bug.
Experts said you'll usually find them on the sunny side of your home. They recommended sealing everything up around doors and windows to keep the bugs out.
"They're looking for a place to, over winter, crawl back into a crack, crevice, nook or cranny and stay there until spring," Johnson said.
If the boxelder bug does crawl in, they won't do any damage, and Johnson recommended simply vacuuming them up.
"If you take a fly swatter and hit them, it's just going to leave a red splotch," Johnson said. He also said power spray treatments are the best way to stop the spread.
"Prevention is the best thing you can do," he said.
The bugs could also have more concentrated populations around maple trees, where they usually live.
For more information about the bugs' habits and habitats, visit the
National Pesticide Information Center online.