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How To Control Boxelder BugsBoxelder bug control

When the cold winter temperatures arrive, there are various pests which look towards your home for warmth and shelter and bring about an annoying infestation.  One such bug is the Boxelder bug.

Although boxelder bugs don’t cause any harm to property or people, these little black and red bugs can be a nuisance since they tend to gather in large numbers crawling around cracks and crevices.

Fortunately, these bugs can be fairly easy to get rid of by implementing preventative exclusion measures in and around your home and using an effective insecticide.

If you’re suffering from an infestation of boxelder bugs, you’ve come to the right place as Solutions Pest and Lawn has the boxelder control products for you and helpful advice on how to use them.

Browse our top recommended products for boxelder bug control below and then scroll further to see our 4 simple steps you should carry out if you want to be successful in getting rid of boxelder bugs from your home once and for all.






How To Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step 1: Identification. The first step in addressing a boxelder bug problem is to first confirm that the bug you are encountering in your home is, in fact, a boxelder bug. While boxelder bugs have a distinct appearance, they can still often be mistaken or confused with other insects such as the milkweed bug. It's important to get confirmation on the correct ID of the pest because this will help you in selecting control products specifically targeting boxelder bugs and will help you in knowing the bugs tendencies, likes and dislikes so you can modify your property to discourage them from seeking out your home as a place to stay.


The boxelder bug is about 1/2 inch long and 1/3 as wide. Their body looks a lot like a sunflower seed which is mainly black with three red lines on the thorax, a red line along each side, and a red line on each wing. The wings lie flat on the back when at rest. The nymphs of boxelder bugs are red and gray. The nymphs look like miniature versions of the adults but do not have fully developed wings and are not able to reproduce. Boxelder bugs found in your home may number into the thousands in a short amount of time. 

If for any reason you're having trouble properly identifying boxelder bugs, you can take a picture of what you see and send it to identification@solutionsstores.com. We will respond back to you shortly thereafter with the proper identification of the insect as well as suggest for you recommendations of products that will best eliminate the pest.


Step 2: Inspection. Once you have confirmation that what you are dealing with are boxelder bugs, you can move on to inspection. Often, the reason that boxelder bugs are present may be because of your yard or somewhere close by having boxelder trees. When it gets cooler in the fall and winter, boxelder bugs may migrate toward your home and try to find a nice warm place in a cavity that may be unable for you to reach or even detect that they are present. 

Boxelder bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices and sneak in through entry points to come inside a home and sometimes can go an entire season undetected by homeowners. It usually isn't until spring when they start to come out of hiding that they are noticeable and by that time they will have spawned a huge population. If you do want to try and find them in the winter time, scan areas such as: Storage areas, attics, basements, crawl spaces, cabinets, closets, garages, and cracks and crevices.

Outdoors you may notice boxelder bugs in bunches or individually gathered around bushes and trees, near windows or on walls on the side of the house that gets the most sun.

Step 3: Control. There are a number of different products we have available that can successfully get rid of your boxelder bug infestation.

Using a hand pump sprayer we recommend using a professional insecticide like Reclaim IT Insecticide and spray around the perimeter of your home at least a foot up the foundation and a foot out on the ground. Focus your spraying around cracks and crevices and door and window frames as well as vents. Some other places to pay attention to are: In the corners of rooms, where baseboards meet the wall, where utility pipes enter the home and under appliances and sinks

After applying the insecticide liquid, we recommend moving on to applying insecticidal dust. Use D-Fense Dust or another professional dust product and apply in cracks and crevices both indoors and outdoors your home. Using more than one control method will help you to address the problem better because if the liquid insecticide isn't able to kill the boxelder begs, the dust treatment method will. 

Using a handheld pesticide duster apply the dust in hot spots such as: Where baseboards meet the floor, under furniture and appliances, below sinks, around door and window frames, and the corner corners of attics and closets.

For boxelder bugs you encounter up close, we recommend using a pyrethrin aerosol like Pyrid Aerosol and spraying them directly to eliminate them.

Step 4: Prevention. To best way to prevent boxelder bug infestations is to prevent the boxelder bugs to enter your home in the first place. This will take a combination of preventative insecticide treatments and exclusion. Use the products we recommended in step 3 quarterly to have long-lasting control and keep boxelder bugs away all season long. Apply caulk or use pest control black foam to seal up cracks and crevices and other points of entry around your home and keep your home and yard clean and clutter free to reduce the likelihood of boxelder bugs invading. 

Not the Insect You Were Looking For? Find Your Target Pest on Our "Overwinter Pests" Category!


Learn More About Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs  (Boisea trivittata), sometimes called maple bugs, are medium-sized insects about 1/2" long and are dark gray or black with red markings on their back, making them easily recognizable. Sometimes those markings can look more orange than red. This species is native to the western states, but can be found in areas in eastern Canada and also throughout the eastern United States. Boxelder bugs get their name from the fact that they are often found on and around boxelder trees.

Boxelder bugs are most active in the spring and fall seasons. They are an overwintering pest, which means when temperatures drop, they begin swarming in large numbers. A group of boxelder bugs will readily infest the same area from year to year once a successful winter shelter has been found. Some will even will look towards homes and migrate to the undersides of siding and roofing and ultimately, make their inside.

Boxelder bugs like to reside in gardens where they feed primarily on leaves, seedpods and blooms of female boxelder trees. They also enjoy trees like ash and maple. The damage usually isn’t significant, but large numbers of pests can cause foliage to take on a distorted appearance. Indoors, boxelder bugs are harmless but they can be annoying in large numbers by leaving quite a mess from the droppings they leave behind.


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Boxelder Bug Life Cycle

The boxelder bug adult would begin the cycle by laying eggs on the host trees in the spring and within a few days, a nymph would emerge. The nymphs are small and are a bit redder in color than adults. Over the summer the nymphs develop and reach adulthood then immediately start to mate and lay eggs which hatch into the nymphs of the second generation.

In the summertime, boxelder bugs normally survive by eating on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods of the boxelder tree or silver maple. The bugs cause little damage to trees. The activity of nearly fully grown nymphs is noticed in August and September when they gather in alarming huge numbers on the trunks of box elder trees. This is usually when boxelder bugs will start their migration into a house.


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Tips on Boxelder Bug Control

  • Prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home by sealing up holes and cracks in your home. In the fall, box elder bugs are congregating to find a place to overwinter. If they are collecting on the southern wall of your home, they are going to try to get inside. Seal up your house using caulk, cement, wire mesh, netting, or whatever else you might have handy. Make sure to do it before the end of summer before the bugs crawl inside. While this isn’t totally fool-proof way to keep them from your home since you may not be able to seal up every possible crack or opening in your home, it will limit entry points for box elder bugs and other insects.

  • Use a vacuum to suck out boxelder bugs. Smashing boxelder bugs can emit a stinky odor so vacuuming them is a good alternative to getting rid  Their odor also can attract other boxelder bugs to gather so you will want to dispose of your vacuum bag soon after sucking them up.

Solutions Recommended Products For Boxelder Bug Control

Sometimes vacuuming and sealing up your home isn't enough to keep boxelder bugs out. When this happens, it’s time to resort to chemical means of elimination. This is especially the case if you’ve seen them congregating on a nearby tree or active on the side of your house.

Use Pyrid Aerosol and Reclaim IT Insecticide for a quick contact kill. These products also have a long-lasting residual and will be able to spread over the bugs which enhances the overall result. Make sure to aside from spraying low cracks and crevices to spray high up your home, preferably around the roof line, and then around windows, doors, shutters, etc. Boxelder bugs love light fixtures and will find any crack or crevice so make sure that you have sprayed everywhere to get them all.

Outdoors any plant or inanimate object you see them accumulating on should be sprayed too. This will reduce the active bugs in the yard wanting to nest in and around your home. By reducing these numbers you are reducing the amount that could find their way inside.

Dusts like Alpine Dust Insecticide or D-Fense Dust are also excellent options for treating boxelder bugs

There are a variety of insecticides that we carry that can control boxelder bugs so please browse below. For more information or if you have any questions about an order or would like helpful DIY advice, feel free to call us at our number (800) 479-6583 and one of our experienced representatives will be happy to assist you.


Additional Resources on Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder Bugs 101: Overview of What Attracts Boxelders - PestWorld.org


Boxelder Bugs | UKY Entomology


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