If you’ve got seed bearing boxelder trees in your property, then you’re familiar with boxelder bugs.
These bugs gather on the window sills, sheds, garages, roofs, and door ways during the fall months emitting a nasty stench.
They also cause some damage to female boxelder trees.
To stop these things from happening, you must know what kills boxelder bugs.
In this guide, you’ll get both natural non toxic options and chemical insecticides to get rid of boxelder bugs in your property.
What Do Boxelder Bugs Look Like?
Boxelder bugs are black bugs with flat and oval bodies. They’ve got red stripes on their back and also a pair of developed wings. But they’re not strong fliers, though they can fly a few blocks.
However, the adults can be persistent and travel and a long way to find boxelder trees.
They grow up to 1/2-3/4 inches in size when they’re fully matured adults.
Boxelder bugs are active during the warm weather. They become active during the spring.
The boxelder bug infestation peaks during the warm months of May to July when these bugs breed and lay eggs.
The nymphs or immature boxelder bugs have the same body shape as the adult boxelder bugs, albeit a bit tinier.
The young boxelder bugs are not black like the adults. They’re bright red.
What Do Boxelder Bugs Eat?
Boxelder bugs feed on the seed pods of boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees. If these trees are in your property, then you’ll attract the boxelder bugs during these months.
Boxelder bugs also feed on the newly developed leaves on the female boxelder trees and maple trees. Their feeding on the new leaves causes damage to the trees. That can hamper the tree’s growth too.
Why You Must Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs?
Boxelder bugs are a big nuisance when they enter homes. And why do they get inside your home?
It’s because they want to hibernate inside your home during the winter months.
That’s why boxelder bugs in the house during the winter and fall months is common in homes where there are boxelder trees.
Boxelder bugs begin to gather in large swarms on the sheds, window sills, doorways, and garages in the late fall, trying to make their way inside your home.
The gathering of these bugs start to emit a unpleasant odor which can make you feel nauseated.
When they get inside the home, boxelder bugs will try to sneak inside places like attic, underneath furniture, and wall voids.
They’ll look for places that are warm and have less human footfalls.
And while doing so, they’ll also congregate indoors, at the different areas of your home emitting a foul odor.
When spring arrives, the boxelder bugs will emerge out of their hibernating spots and will be visible inside your home, creating a nuisance.
That makes many homeowners wonder from where these fall bugs suddenly show up in early spring inside the home.
So, to prevent boxelder bugs, you must get rid of them during the warmer months and take steps to prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home during the fall months.
Here’s What Kills Boxelder Bugs And How To Use Them
There are five things that you can use to kill or get rid of boxelder bugs in your property and home –
- Soapy water
- White vinegar
- Horticultural oils
- Diatomaceous earth
- Pyrethrin-based insecticide spray
The first four in the list are non-toxic ways to kill boxelder bugs. And it’ll be best to use these unless the infestation is so severe that you must use chemical insecticides.
To remove boxelder bugs, the soapy water spray is your best option.
And you don’t need to do much to prepare the spray—mix half a cup of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water.
Stir the mixture well. Then pour the dish soap mixture into a spray bottle.
Spray the mixture on the boxelder bugs. The soap in the soapy water destroys the boxelder bugs’ breaking in the layer that holds the bugs’ vital waxy oils.
The soap absorbs the oils, which causes the boxelder bugs to die. But keep in mind that soapy water, and the other non-toxic ingredients, aren’t instant boxelder bug killers.
The bugs take 2-3 hours after applying the soapy water to die.
The second is a mixture of white vinegar and water. Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water and spray it directly on the boxelder bugs.
The acidity in the vinegar is toxic enough for many bugs, including boxelder bugs.
The third is horticultural oils. These are the most non-toxic on the list, and they’re harmless to beneficial insects.
And the best part is that you can use them all through the year to keep bugs away.
You can use the horticultural oils right out from the bottle on the boxelder bugs to kill them.
But there’s one drawback. Its effects are short-lived. So, you’ll have to use it once every couple of days to eliminate boxelder bugs, especially when they’re too many.
As a preventive measure, you can also spray the oils on the places where boxelder bugs hide.
You’ll find out later in the post where boxelder bugs hide, both indoors and outdoors, but for now, let’s look at your next option, diatomaceous earth.
Scatter diatomaceous earth on the boxelder bugs. Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant that absorbs moisture and oils locked underneath the bugs’ exoskeleton.
Diatomaceous earth is made of diatom, a type of fossil of planktons. These diatoms cut through the shells of the bugs and penetrate their bodies.
Like most non-toxic ways, diatomaceous earth is not an instant bug killer. It’ll take 2-3 hours to work. But wear a dust mask while scattering it.
And finally, insecticide sprays. We, and many other experts, don’t recommend using insecticide sprays as your go-to measure to get rid of boxelder bugs.
The non-toxic ways will work fine to get rid of them. However, when the infestation is too heavy, you might have to use chemicals to eliminate boxelder bugs.
But if these bugs are in your home, don’t use the insecticide sprays to get rid of boxelder bugs indoors.
It’ll be best if you limit its usage only to outdoors.
You shouldn’t choose any random insecticide sprays or insecticide dust to get rid of them. Certain ingredients work well against them.
Certain ingredients work well to get rid of boxelder bugs. These are lambda cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, lambda cyhalothrin, and pyrethrin.
You can use LB Drione. It’s pyrethrin-based insecticide dust to kill boxelder bugs.
All you’ve to do is scatter it on the boxelder bugs by using the puffer available with it.
If you want to go for a spray, you can use Spectracide Triazicide insect killer. It’s primarily for outdoor use and highly effective against boxelder bugs.
It’s also plant-safe. So, you can use it on the boxelder bugs sitting on the plants. To make the spray, you’ll need to mix it with water. Read the mixing instructions on the label bed before using.
Caution: Both insecticide dust and sprays can be harmful to you. They can cause severe irritation and harm to the eyes and skin. So, please read the safety instructions on the label and wear protective clothing while using them.
No matter what method you use to kill boxelder bugs, don’t forget to remove the dead bugs from your property.
The dead bugs can attract other bugs like carpet beetles, ants, and roaches.
How To Prevent Boxelder Bugs Infestation?
The prevention tips you’re about to find out will help to keep these insects away from your property.
Preventing boxelder bugs is easy and you don’t need to do much about it. All you’ve to do is to set up your yard in a way that doesn’t attract these nuisance insects.
Avoid Planting Female Boxelder Trees
You can’t chop off each boxelder tree in your yard. That’s impossible.
However, if you make a choice of planting the right boxelder tree, then you won’t attract the boxelder bugs.
So, avoid planting the seed bearing boxelder trees. The fallen boxelder seeds from these trees attract the boxelder bugs.
The boxelder bugs feed on the fallen seeds and they’ll also reproduce in your property.
Spray Boxelder Bugs Repellants On The Windows, Doors, And Doorways
There are certain essential oils that repel boxelder bugs naturally. These bugs hate their smell.
Some examples of essential oils that you can use to repel boxelder bugs are peppermint, eucalyptus, citrus, and cedar.
Mix 5-7 drops of these oils half a gallon of water and pour the mixture in a spray bottle.
Shake the spray bottle well, and spray it on the window sills, window screens, doors, and doorways.
Boxelder bugs gather in large groups on the sunny side of your house where they can get direct sunlight. Spray the mixture on those areas of your home.
Seal Gaps And Crevices On Your Home’s Walls, Windows, And Doors
Boxelder bugs exploit the small cracks on home’s walls, doors, and windows to get inside your home.
Seal cracks and gaps that you can see.
Check out for any tiny cracks on the door screens and door frames. These pests can use them too to get inside the house. Seal them if you find any.
Install door sweeps to cover the gap between the door and floor. Boxelder bugs often use those gaps to sneak inside the house.
Keep Your Yard Clean
Boxelder bugs invade homes from your yard or garden. And they lay eggs in your outdoor area too.
A dirty yard with a lot of organic wastes like leaf litter and rotting pieces of wood is a haven for many bugs and pests.
Pest control professionals always recommend to get rid of these wastes to prevent an infestation.
So, ensure that your yard or garden is always clean without any organic and food wastes.
Can Boxelder bugs Cause An Infestation Indoors?
Boxelder bugs can’t reproduce indoors. They will not lay eggs inside the house.
So, there’s no chance that there will be boxelder bug infestation inside the house.
However, the gathering of the bugs inside the house emits a nasty odor. So, if you see those bugs inside your home, use a vacuum cleaner on them to get rid of boxelder bugs.
And dispose of the vacuum bag outside of your property so that they don’t come inside your home again.
If you see a small cluster of boxelder bugs anywhere in your property spray water on them.
A strong stream of water from the garden hose will do the job pretty well. It won’t kill boxelder bugs but it’ll discourage them from making a move inside your home.
Do Boxelder Bugs Bite?
When handled, boxelder bugs can bite. But their bites is like a mosquito bite. And boxelder bugs bites doesn’t cause any infection.
Soapy water, white vinegar, diatomaceous earth, horticultural oils, and chemical sprays with specific ingredients, like pyrethrin, kill boxelder bugs.
To kill boxelder bugs naturally, the first four options work best.
This guide revealed what attract boxelder bugs and the reasons they enter your house.
It’s during the fall months that they try to make a move inside your home. Use the prevention tips mentioned in the post to prevent a boxelder bug infestation in your home and yard.
We are Mark and Jim. We dabbled with bugs and pests for most of our lives. And we provide information and hacks that work in making your home pest free.