What Kills Boxelder Bugs? 5 things that do it fast

Starting from late March or early spring of every year, boxelder bugs become a nuisance in your yard.

Boxelder bugs are harmless to humans and pets. Yet, they can damage the plants in your yard and garden. 

These red and black bugs can also sneak inside your home when their numbers increase. 

So, what kills boxelder bugs fast? This guide reveals what you can use right now to get rid of boxelder bugs.

You’ll also find how to use these instant boxelder bug-killers at the right place so that you eliminate them from your property without failing.

This post will also tell you what not to use to get rid of boxelder bugs and why.

Let’s dive in.

5 Things That Kill Boxelder Bugs

  1. Soapy water
  2. White vinegar
  3. Horticultural oils
  4. Diatomaceous earth
  5. Pyrethrin based insecticide sprays

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.

The first on the list is soapy water spray. It does the job of eliminating boxelder bugs pretty well.

And you don’t need to do much to prepare the spray—mix half a cup of detergent powder (or liquid dish soap) in a gallon of water.

Stir the mixture well. Then pour the 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.

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. 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. 

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.

Both LB Drione and Spectracide Triazicide kill boxelder bugs instantly on contact.

How To Prevent Boxelder Bugs Infestation In Your Yard And Inside Your Home?

What Kills Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs become a nuisance starting from the early spring, especially in Michigan and throughout the eastern US.

They come out from their overwintering sites ready to mate and start a new generation of boxelder bugs.

And the most common place where you’ll find them is on the boxelder trees in your yard or property. Boxelder bugs feed on the leaves, flowers, and seeds of these trees.

The female boxelder bugs will lay eggs in the gaps of the barks of boxelder trees and underneath stones and rocks nearby the boxelder trees.

Many will also lay eggs in mulch beds, foliage, and even in the gaps between woodpiles. When the eggs of these bugs hatch, the nymphs are like tiny red bugs.

So, while using the things that kill boxelder bugs, ensure that you check out these places.

If you find any of them in these places, apply the boxelder bug killers. 

When the weather starts to get cold in the late fall, boxelder bugs begin to look out for places to overwinter.

That’s the time when you’ll notice the congregation of these bugs on the home’s perimeter, patio, and in other places that get direct sunlight.

From these places, the boxelder bugs will try to sneak inside your home through the gaps and cracks on the home’s foundation walls, doors, and windows.

So, to prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home, seal those crevices. Use weather strippings to seal off the gaps in the doors and windows.

Use screens on the vents and openings of your house to prevent boxelder bugs from sneaking inside. 

Also, clean your yard or garden. Remove any organic waste piles to prevent boxelder bugs from hiding in these places.

After cleaning, use peppermint spray in your yard. The mint smell is a potent repellent for bugs, and it’s harmless to plants, humans, and pets.

Dangers Of Boxelder Bugs Bring If They’re Inside Your Home

There’s no danger. Boxelder bugs are harmless, and they don’t bite.

Your home isn’t an ideal habitat for them to breed. So, there isn’t any risk of infestation either.

The only problem they bring is that boxelder bugs defecate wherever they want. And their poop stains on fabric, furniture, walls, and floor can be challenging to remove. 

They’re also a nuisance inside the home, especially when they gather in corners piling up on each other.

Boxelder bugs sneak inside homes to overwinter the gaps and cracks on walls, floors, and furniture. They can also move into the attic or basement.

Many people observe a sudden appearance of boxelder bugs inside their homes during spring because they didn’t get rid of them and came out of hibernation. 

So, if there are boxelder bugs inside your home, then check on their hiding places. If you find any of them, you need not use anything to get rid of them.

Use a vacuum cleaner on them and dispose of the vacuum cleaner dust bag with boxelder bugs inside it.

Spray white vinegar on the place where you’ve seen the boxelder bugs congregation. The acidic smell of the white vinegar will prevent these bugs from gathering in the same place.

Note: Do not use bug bombs or insecticide sprays to get rid of boxelder bugs inside your home. 


Soapy water, white vinegar, horticultural oils, diatomaceous earth, and pyrethrin-based insecticide spray kill boxelder bugs.

Insecticide sprays should be your last option (only if the infestation is heavy). The first four are good enough to get rid of boxelder bugs naturally. 

In this guide, you’ve also found out long-term solutions for boxelder bugs. 

And the solutions are to remove their hiding places in your yard and seal the crevices that boxelder bugs may use to enter your home.

How To Murder Pests