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How To Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs


boxelder bugs on ground

These bugs have been named for the trees that they are most likely to frequent. You will often find the boxelder bugs on and around boxelder trees. Even though, the bugs were originally found in the western states, they now have a wider range of distribution. This includes all the areas from the eastern parts of Canada to the eastern United States, as well as, the west of the US to eastern Nevada. In short, they are likely to be found in habitats with boxelder trees.

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If you haven’t seen a boxelder bug yet, it is easily recognized by the three red stripes on its body placed vertically. Other signs of identification include the red lines on its wings’ edges. The markings form an inverted V on its wings. The V is visible in the picture given above is easily spotted when the bug is resting.


The bugs are more likely to enter your home to survive the cold of the winter season. The heated atmosphere inside the house attracts them. You will often see these bugs climbing the southern and western walls of the house as the weather starts to get colder. The sunlight falling on those walls makes them warmer thus attracting the insects. They crawl up the walls and find cracks where they can spend the winter. When the weather gets warmer, you can find some of these insects waking up and making their way inside the building.


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Why Get Rid of Them

The boxelders will overwinter during the cold, however, the warmth will bring them out. The source of such warmth can be the air that is heated by the furnace/heater. If you don’t get rid of them, they will end up in your rooms!


Damage Boxelder Bugs Cause

The bugs won’t harm your house or the family in any way but they will soon become a nuisance. BY the time they start showing up, it will already be too late to get rid of them. This is why you should focus on preventive measures. Start applying the methods mentioned below to control these bugs in mid-summer.  



Seal the points of entry

If you want to prevent your house from being the site of a boxelder bug infestation, then you can start by repairing any holes you found in the window and door screens. This is to keep them from crawling in during the winter. You will also have to seal cracks and crevices to block all entrances. Use a caulk that contains silicone or silicone-latex for sealing. The next step is installation of door sweeps in all the doors of the house leading outside.

Remove the host

If you want your house to stay boxelder bug free, then you will have to get rid of the trees that host them. This means any of the box elder trees that are in your yard or around the house need to go. However, keep in mind that adult bugs can still fly to your property from other locations. Moreover, observe the other trees to check for any loose siding that is close to a window or the door of your house. For instance, if you find some loose bark on any tree close to your house, remove it. The bugs can use it to get inside the house.

Lastly, there is another way you can discourage the bugs from entering your home. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or borax powder at all points of entry. This includes the window sills and door jams. Don’t forget the cracks and crevices that you might have left unsealed. The bugs can use them to get inside your home. 

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  1. Look for places where the boxelder bugs can congregate and use to survive the winter. That means, you will have to remove any landscape debris, wood piles, etc.

  2. If you find the bugs have clustered on a tree or a wall that is located where the sunlight falls in the winter, spray them off using a garden hose. Spraying regularly with the water coming at high pressure can repel the bugs and make them look for alternative places to roost.

  3. You can also spray the bugs with hot water that has a temperature between 160-180˚ F. Keep in mind that while the hot water will kill the bugs, it can also harm the sprayer. You might also splash some of the hot water on yourself, if you try to do this in confined spaces.

  4. Another good way of getting rid of the boxelder bugs is to attempt it early in the season. As soon as you see the bugs starting to emerge from their hiding places, spray the trees with horticultural oil. Make sure that you cover the whole tree with the oily spray. Also ensure that you also spray under loose bark.

  5. If you are trying to remove a boxelder bug infestation that is now inside your home, you can do so by vacuuming them up. The key here is that you not forget to dispose the bag of dead bugs properly and promptly. If you can’t get rid of the bag immediately, consider storing it in the freezer to keep the bugs from creating additional issues. Secondly, do not kill them in wall voids. This will attract a new problem to your house i.e. the dermestid beetles.


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 Permethrin SFR 36.8% and Cy-Kick Aerosol 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.

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