How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

he boxelder bug is a type of pest that is more of an inconvenience than an outright danger or health concern to homes. These bugs are more than happy to spend their lives congregating in their preferred homes, which are boxelder trees (from which they get their name), ash trees, and maple trees, but the insects become problems during the autumn months when they move indoors to hibernate over the winter months.

To get rid of boxelder bugs, seal all cracks and crevices that lead into the interior of the home. If boxelder bugs have infested wall voids, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the pests, and then treat the entryways and the outdoor of your home with a strong residual insecticide.

Boxelder bugs pose no real threat to humans apart from inconvenience, and eradication of this insect is not as difficult as other interior pests granted you know how to get rid of boxelder bugs that may hibernate around wall voids and baseboards. Read on to discover the best products and procedures to get rid of boxelder bugs and keep them outside.

Boxelder Bug
Boxelder Bug

What Causes Boxelder Bugs in the House?

Most insects live a very short life cycle with days and months being the general timeframe for an insect to complete its lifespan. Seasonal changes correspond to these life cycles with the mid to late autumn and winter months being the times of year when you can expect to see very little insect activity around your home.

The boxelder bug is one species of insect that does not generally follow this pattern and will seek warm and safe shelters to hibernate through the winter months since there is no mechanism that causes the insects to die at the onset of autumn. Each boxelder bug only lives for a few days at one time, but there is no biological protocol in their DNA that triggers death once the weather turns cooler, therefore, boxelder bugs will seek self-preservation to escape the cold.

The interior of a home is a perfect place for the insects to hibernate as it provides warmth and shelter. You can typically see when the bugs are getting ready to seek shelter in late September or early October when large clusters of the red and black bugs are grouped together around your home or the structures near your home.

boxelder bugs preparing for hibernation
Boxelder bugs preparing for hibernation

To get inside your home, the bugs may enter the dwelling through the tiniest of cracks and crevices from virtually anywhere around the home. Additionally, the bugs can march into the home if a window or door is left open for long periods.

Once inside, the bugs search for holes or cracks that are dark and warm and sizeable enough to fit a colony, where the bugs will remain until spring. Since these insects are attracted to and seeking warmth during the colder months, it is not uncommon for homeowners to see boxelder bugs crawling throughout the house due to false signals emitting from heaters or fireplaces.

Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

Boxelder bugs may very well be one of the least worrisome of all invasive pests inside of the home. The insects will not bite or sting humans or pets and may not even damage interior plants depending on the size of the hibernating colony that has infested the home.

Boxelder bugs are sometimes called ‘maple bugs' since the insects are known to live primarily in maple trees. The insects suck the sap out of the limbs and bark of the tree, which itself doesn't cause much damage to the tree.

If the insects do begin to crawl on interior plants, they are usually only seeking moisture, which is required for the insects to survive during the fall and winter months. Boxelder bugs have absolutely no interest in human beings and will go to great lengths to stay away from humans much like cockroaches.

With this in mind, it can still be unsettling to know that several insects are hiding within your home, and you may wish to understandably get rid of the insects.

How Do You Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs in the House?

There are no complex procedures that come along with eradicating boxelder bugs from your home, however, since the bugs do hide in hard-to-reach places, there is a bit of work involved with destroying the infestation. There are some steps that go beyond using insecticides that can also greatly aid your task, which are also discussed below.

Chemical Treatments

For the best results in removing boxelder bugs, it is best to address their natural environment first, which is outdoors around your home. Boxelder trees and any type of maple tree are the primary spots to find boxelder bugs during the spring and summer months.

A powerful residual spray is always the best and easiest method to use when you need to destroy a lot of insects and maintain the killing effect for a long period of time. Lambda Star Ultracap is a great product for outdoor spray tasks since it possesses a powerful chemical, lambda-cyhalothrin, which is much more potent than traditional pyrethroid spray insecticides, which is perfect to use in trees.

This insecticide is specifically targeted to kill boxelder bugs in their natural habitat and its residual component can last upwards of 4 weeks if environmental conditions are ideal. By using a spray to kill the insects in their preferred habitat, this will greatly reduce the risk of attracting the bugs inside of the home when cooler weather sets in and kill them in the trees that they usually live on.

When the bugs have already infested the inside of your home, it is best to use a spray that is safe to spray around the inside of the house. Both D-Fense SC and Cyper WSP are powerful spray insecticides that contain a strong residual and are not too toxic to the point of being dangerous.

Both spray formulations need to be diluted in water and should be administered in garden sprayers. Once the solution is properly mixed, spray inside of all hiding places that the bugs hide in, which are all cracks and crevices on the walls and especially the baseboards.

The residual component of the sprays will work to destroy the bugs over time as they crawl through it.

Other Measures to Consider

You can certainly choose to use chemical treatments, and these treatments are likely to b necessary for complete eradication, however, there are some other tasks you can perform to get rid of these bugs. Be sure to seal all cracks and crevices around your house, as the seal will prevent the bugs from squeezing through the cracks in early autumn.

You can seal entry holes with caulking and be sure to administer the caulking all around the hole to prevent even the tiniest of a space for the bugs to crawl through. Be sure to seal around windows and doors as well since these are also openings that the bugs use to enter the house.

Secondly, a vacuum cleaner is a great tool to utilize to remove boxelder bug populations that are hibernating inside of the house. Using the hose accessory of your vacuum, vacuum all inside of the walls and the entry points that allowed the bugs to enter the walls; be sure to empty the canister to prevent any sucked-up bugs from escaping back into the house.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Vinegar Kill Boxelder Bugs?

Since these insects are a durable and tough species due to being an outside bug, vinegar will not kill these insects outright. With that said, vinegar will repel the bugs as it does for nearly all insects.

Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and track the areas of your house where the bugs are known to hide. This will also work wonders in drawing the insects out for the vacuum cleaner to suck them in.

You can also add lemon or other essential oils to the spray bottle to make the repellent effect even more pronounced.

Will Boxelder Bugs Leave on Their Own?

Along many problem pests, boxelder bugs will attempt to leave the house once spring is in full effect. The insects will begin to migrate outdoors since the bugs will be in need of food as quickly as possible.

This is a good sign, but still, this can cause quite a mess when several of the insects attempt to flee the house at one time.

In Summary

Boxelder bugs are not a dangerous pest nor are the bugs any cause for concern like other pests that can infest a house. These insects are simply a nuisance and can hibernate by the hundreds if their natural habitat happens to be near a standard house.

Insecticides, vacuuming, and the sealing of entry points are the best methods available to combat a boxelder bug invasion. If you are in doubt or are not seeing results, never hesitate to contact a pest control professional today.

Leave a Comment