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With the temperatures starting to cool off and the leaves starting to change colour, we all know what's coming next.

Maple bugs are about to make their triumphant return for the fall. As residents know, hoards of the small black and red bugs come out at the end of summer looking for warm places to hide.

Sarah Regent, Parks Gardener with the City of Moose Jaw, tells us that the bugs - also known as box elder bugs - are actually around all summer. We just don't notice them.

"They will hang out in the summer, and they're really small in the summer so you don't notice them much. Come the end of summer, early fall is when they start to become very noticeable, mostly because they start congregating in places that are warm, like the side of your house."

"They mostly like to be in the heat and the sun because they are an insect, they are a cold-blooded kind of animal, so if they're in the heat that helps them out a lot, helps them stay active for longer into the season so that they can keep feeding, exploring, and doing all the things that maple bugs do."

Once the bugs start coming out, Regent says the best way to deal with them is your garden hose. If you want to kill the bug, you can mix some soap in your water first. And if things are really bad, you can always call an exterminator.

While they may be unappealing to look at and definitely have an 'ick' factor about them, they don't cause any sort of harm Regent says.

"They're pretty much harmless. They will feed a little bit on maple seeds, that's nothing that we're worried about - actually it might help us out a little bit, if they take out some seeds you'll have fewer volunteer trees where you don't want them. But other than that they don't do any kind of damage to other plants or trees."

While certain communities in Saskatchewan are expecting a larger number of bugs than usual this year, Regent doesn't expect a jump in numbers this fall, saying they have been fairly steady the past couple of years.

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