How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs: Effective Pest Control Solutions for Your Home

How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs?

To get rid of box elder bugs, it is important to focus on prevention and control methods.

The most effective method is to seal any cracks and crevices around doors and windows, as well as patching any openings in the house.

Removing wood piles and debris where the bugs can gather is also recommended.

During the summer, vacuuming can provide temporary relief indoors.

Spraying box elder bugs with a garden hose, applying insecticides around doors and windows, using hot water to kill bugs, and using horticultural oil or insecticidal soap on trees can help control their population.

Additionally, sprinkling borax or diatomaceous earth on window sills and door jambs and using crack and crevice sprays can deter their entry.

However, removing female box elder trees is not recommended unless there are no other box elder trees nearby.

Key Points:

  • Focus on prevention and control methods for getting rid of box elder bugs
  • Seal cracks and crevices around doors and windows, as well as patch any openings in the house
  • Remove wood piles and debris where the bugs can gather
  • Vacuuming can provide temporary relief indoors during the summer
  • Use methods such as spraying with a garden hose, applying insecticides, using hot water, horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap to control the bug population
  • Sprinkle borax or diatomaceous earth on window sills and door jambs
  • Use crack and crevice sprays to deter entry


Did You Know?

1. Box elder bugs are attracted to female box elder trees, as they release a chemical pheromone that lures them in.

2. While box elder bugs are harmless to humans, they have been known to stain fabric or wallpaper with their droppings, which can be difficult to remove.

3. These bugs possess specialized glands that produce a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened. This secretion serves as a defense mechanism against predators.

4. Box elder bugs do not reproduce indoors; they only seek shelter inside homes during colder months to escape the harsh weather conditions.

5. Although box elder bugs primarily feed on box elder tree seeds, they have been observed feeding on the sap of various other tree species, such as maple and ash trees.

Introduction: The Nature Of Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs, scientifically known as Boisea trivittata, are named after their primary host, the boxelder tree. These insects are commonly found in the western states but can also be spotted in the eastern United States, eastern Canada, and even parts of western Nevada. Boxelder bugs are considered true bugs, belonging to the order Hemiptera, along with stink bugs and cicadas. They have an orange body and dark wings that are crossed along their back, making them easily recognizable.

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While boxelder bugs infrequently cause damage to fruits and non-fruiting trees, they are primarily considered a nuisance pest. As cold weather approaches, these bugs tend to seek shelter and enter houses in colonies. It is important to note that when boxelder bugs are disturbed or crushed, they emit a pungent odor. Additionally, while they are not known to bite, their mouthparts can occasionally puncture the skin, leading to slight itchiness and red spots.

Boxelder Bug Life Cycle And Habits

Understanding the life cycle and habits of boxelder bugs is crucial for effective pest control. These pests survive the winter by taking shelter beneath tree bark or in homes. In the spring, they emerge and start feeding on vegetation before mating. Females lay their eggs on various surfaces, including seed pods, leaves, stems, and branches. It takes approximately 10-14 days for the eggs to hatch, and all stages of the boxelder bug can be found in and around host trees during the summer.

During cold weather, only adult boxelder bugs are able to survive. They have a tendency to overwinter in homes if they find suitable places to hide. Therefore, denying them these hiding spots can effectively reduce their numbers. It is also important to note that infestations may occur during dry years when boxelder bugs seek out fruit. Wind plays a significant role in the dispersal of flying boxelder bugs, allowing them to travel long distances in search of new food sources and breeding grounds.

Boxelder Bugs As Nuisance Pests

Boxelder bugs are primarily considered nuisance pests due to their large numbers and potential for creating a mess. While they do not cause structural damage to homes or contaminate food sources, their presence can lead to filth, odor, and overall displeasure. During late summer and autumn, boxelder bugs tend to gather in large numbers on the sun-facing side of homes and garages, resulting in discoloration. It is crucial to take measures to control and eliminate boxelder colonies to prevent further inconvenience.

  • Boxelder bugs are nuisance pests
  • They do not cause structural damage or contaminate food
  • Their presence can lead to filth, odor, and overall displeasure
  • They gather in large numbers on the sun-facing side of homes and garages during late summer and autumn, causing discoloration
  • It is important to take measures to control and eliminate boxelder colonies.

“It is crucial to take measures to control and eliminate boxelder colonies to prevent further inconvenience.”

Preventing Boxelder Bugs From Entering Your Home

The most important defense against boxelder bugs is preventing them from entering your home in the first place. Sealing around doors and windows is vital to creating a barrier that denies their entry. Patching cracks in the house and repairing loose siding can also effectively prevent boxelder bugs from finding their way inside. It is recommended to eliminate wood piles, debris, and other potential hiding places to significantly reduce the boxelder bug population.

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Non-Chemical Methods For Getting Rid Of Boxelder Bugs

When it comes to controlling boxelder bugs, non-chemical methods are advisable. Vacuuming can provide temporary relief indoors, but it is most effective during the summer when adult overwintering bugs are active. Spraying boxelder bugs with a garden hose can deter them from staying in certain areas. Applying insecticide around doors and windows can also help control their presence, but it is important to note that using chemical pesticides indoors can be hazardous and may attract other insects and rodents.

Using hot water (between 160-180°F) can effectively kill boxelder bugs, but caution should be exercised to avoid burns. Spraying trees with horticultural oil early in the year is another method to control boxelder bugs. Insecticidal soap can be used to spray on trees and houses to kill these pests as well. It may be necessary to regularly and repeatedly spray for optimal control. Pyrethrin sprays can effectively kill boxelder bugs at all stages of their lifecycle. Using a shop-vac with soapy water can suffocate and remove boxelder bugs. Another non-chemical method is sprinkling borax or diatomaceous earth at the bottom of window sills and around door jambs to discourage the entry of boxelder bugs into your home.

Factors To Consider When Removing Female Boxelder Trees

While removing female boxelder trees may seem like a logical solution to decrease the number of boxelder bugs, it is not necessarily the most effective method. This is because boxelder bugs have the ability to disperse their eggs and fly long distances in search of new food sources and breeding grounds. Therefore, removing female boxelder trees without considering other measures may not yield the desired outcome.

It is crucial to adopt a multifaceted approach to boxelder bug control rather than solely relying on tree removal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the most effective natural remedies for getting rid of box elder bugs?

There are a few natural remedies that can help in getting rid of box elder bugs. Firstly, creating a barrier around your home by sealing any cracks or gaps can help prevent their entry. Additionally, using a solution of dish soap and water to spray on the bugs directly can suffocate them. Another effective method is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) around the areas where the bugs are prevalent. DE dehydrates the bugs, leading to their demise. These natural remedies can help in reducing and controlling box elder bug infestations.

2. Are there any preventive measures that can be taken to keep box elder bugs away from homes or buildings?

Yes, there are preventive measures that can be taken to keep box elder bugs away from homes or buildings. One effective method is to seal all cracks and openings in windows, doors, and walls to prevent the bugs from entering. Additionally, homeowners can ensure proper ventilation and repair any damaged window screens to prevent box elder bugs from getting inside. It is also helpful to remove any box elder trees or female box elder seeds near the building, as these act as attractants for the bugs. Regular cleaning and vacuuming can help remove any existing bugs and eliminate their potential hiding places.

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3. What are the signs that a property may be infested with box elder bugs, and how can they be identified?

Signs that a property may be infested with box elder bugs include the presence of large numbers of these insects on or around the premises. Box elder bugs are about half an inch long, black with red or orange markings on their backs. They can often be seen congregating on the sides of buildings, especially if those structures have prominent sunny, south-facing surfaces. Another sign is the appearance of droppings or stains on the walls or windowsills, as box elder bugs excrete a reddish-brown residue when crushed or when they release their defensive odor.

To identify box elder bugs, one can look for their distinct physical characteristics. These insects have an elongated, somewhat oval-shaped body, with six legs and two long antennae. They have a noticeable black coloration with prominent red or orange markings along their back, which is the most recognizable feature that sets them apart from other bugs. Additionally, box elder bugs have wings, which are typically flat and overlapped on their back when at rest.

4. Are there any professional pest control methods or products that are recommended for eliminating box elder bugs from indoor spaces?

Yes, there are professional pest control methods and products that are recommended for eliminating box elder bugs from indoor spaces. One effective method is to hire a licensed pest control professional who can assess the extent of the infestation and apply appropriate treatments. They may use residual insecticide sprays, dusts, or baits specifically designed to target box elder bugs. It is crucial to consult with professionals who have experience dealing with box elder bugs to ensure the most effective and safe approach is used to eliminate them from indoor spaces. Additionally, sealing cracks and gaps in windows, doors, and walls can help prevent future infestations and reduce the entry points for box elder bugs.

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