Boxelder bugs become a nuisance in your home and garden during the fall and winter months.
These bugs gather on the window sills, sheds, garages, roofs, and door ways during the fall months emitting a nasty stench.
To stop this from happening, you must get rid of boxelder bugs on your property and prevent them from entering your home.
This guide will reveal what kills boxelder bugs. You’ll find a mix of both home products and specific chemical pesticides that you can use to control boxelder bugs.
5 Things That Kill Boxelder Bugs
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.
Let’s get into each of these options to find out how you can use them to get rid of boxelder bugs in your home and property
Soapy Water Spray Will Kill Boxelder Bugs
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.
White Vinegar Spray
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 white vinegar spray kills boxelder bugs on contact.
Use the spray directly on the boxelder bugs. You can also use them on places like window sills, doorways, and on the exterior areas of your house that receive direct sunlight.
Boxelder bugs gather in the sunny side of your house during the winter to bask in the sun. While doing so, many boxelder bugs sneak inside the house during the winter.
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.
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.
Pyrethrin-Based Insecticide Sprays
Insecticide sprays should be your last resort to kill boxelder bugs. It’s because the natural killers are good enough to remove these bugs.
However, some properties, where there are boxelder trees, face a challenge of severe boxelder bugs infestation. It’s because the boxelder seeds are food for boxelder bugs.
In that case, using insecticide sprays to kill boxelder bugs becomes a necessity.
However, you should use insecticide sprays with specific ingredients like lambda cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin, lambda cyhalothrin, and pyrethrin.
These chemicals kill boxelder bugs on contact.
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.
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.
Use Vacuum Cleaner To Eliminate Boxelder Bugs Inside The House
Your vacuum cleaner is good enough to remove boxelder bugs inside the house.
Boxelder bugs can enter homes in droves during the winter. It’s because they look for warm places to overwinter.
And when the spring arrives, the boxelder bugs come out.
They hide in the wall voids, in places like attic, and inside the gaps and cracks on floor and furniture.
You’ll find out how to prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home in a minute.
But if they’re inside your home, then use a vacuum cleaner on the boxelder bugs to remove them.
Then dispose of the vacuum dust bag far from your property.
However, ensure that you don’t crush the boxelder bugs while vacuuming. It’s because crushed boxelder bugs emit a nasty odor. And the odor will attract bugs like ants, roaches, and Dermestid beetles.
Also, the boxelder bugs produce stains when you crush them. Those stains can be hard to remove.
After removing the boxelder bugs, clean the surface with soapy water eliminate any scents of boxelder bugs.
You can also use sticky bug traps to entrap the boxelder bugs that might have escaped the vacuum cleaning.
But the best part is that boxelder bugs don’t breed or lay eggs indoors. So, there’s no way that you can have a boxelder bug infestation inside the house.
Do not try to handle boxelder bugs with bare hands. They can bite.
How To Prevent Boxelder Bugs From Entering Your House?
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.
Soapy water, white vinegar, diatomaceous earth, horticultural oils, and insecticide 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.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.