During the warm months, the small orange and black insects known as boxelder bugs go mostly unnoticed. However, once the leaves start to turn and temperatures drop, these annoying, odor-causing pests begin to emerge in search of warmth, often in disturbingly large numbers. You’ll usually spot them hanging out in clusters on the sunny sides of trees and the south-facing exterior of your house. Even worse, as the weather continues to cool, these large groups—often numbering in the hundreds, sometimes thousands—will look to move inside your home.
A few dozen boxelder bugs outside is a nuisance, a few dozen box elder bugs indoors is a seriously messy problem, in some cases even a health hazard. In addition to the foul scent they emit when threatened, indoor boxelder bugs can quickly spread excrement, hard-to-remove stains, and dead bugs all throughout your home. To make matters worse, their yucky smell tends to attract additional bugs, and not just more boxelder bugs, but damaging pests like carpet beetles, too. In other words, things can get out of hand quickly.
Given their large numbers and resistance to many traditional pesticides, boxelder bugs can be difficult to get under control. But don’t worry—we have your back. Below you’ll find 3 simple steps for preventing and getting rid of boxelder bugs, both inside and outside your home.
Like with any pest problem, the easiest, least expensive, and most impactful way to control boxelder bugs is prevention. Here’s how to do it:
SEAL YOUR HOME
Without question, this is the most important step for preventing indoor boxelder problems. If you have boxelder bugs nearby and your home’s not adequately sealed, it’s only a matter of time before you find dozens of these stinky pests indoors.
Perform a thorough check of your home’s exterior, looking closely for holes in siding, poorly sealed doors and windows, cracks in the foundation, etc—any potential entry points boxelder bugs could use to sneak inside. Then simply use caulk, weatherproofing tape, spray foam, or another appropriate material to repair any holes, cracks, or crevices you find.
REMOVE POTENTIAL HIDEOUTS & FOOD
Boxelder bugs commonly use organic clutter like stacked wood, piles of mulch, leaves, overgrown shrubbery, and rock piles to overwinter and escape the coming cold. If these attractants are in your yard, you’re far more likely to experience larger boxelder populations, both indoors and out. As fall approaches, do yourself a favor and remove all unnecessary clutter from your yard and stay up on lawn maintenance until at least winter.
Of course the biggest attractant for boxelder bugs is their favorite food source, boxelder seeds. If you have boxelder trees near your home, regularly scan your yard for their seed pods and promptly remove them to deter future boxelder bugs.
PROTECT YOUR LAWN & MAPLE TREES
Boxelder and other maple trees are the primary breeding site, food source, and shelter for boxelder bugs. By making these trees and the surrounding areas inhospitable to unwanted pests, you can prevent large boxelder bug populations from taking hold.
First, treat your entire lawn, including shrubbery and bases of trees with the family-safe Lawn & Garden Kit monthly until winter arrives. If you’re currently experiencing a heavy boxelder bug problem, treat your entire outdoor space twice, two weeks apart, and then move on to monthly applications after that. For additional protection, sprinkle diatomaceous earth at the bases of your maple trees throughout the summer and fall.
ATTRACT BOXELDER BUG PREDATORS
One of the easiest and most natural methods for both preventing and getting rid of boxelder bugs involves attracting their natural predators to your lawn & garden. Installing a few bird feeders and baths is typically sufficient and the results should come fairly quickly. Spiders are also effective, so if you don’t mind having a few harmless webs outside your home, leave them to do their work—they’ll help control other unwanted pests, too.
TREAT YOUR LAWN
Healthier lawns with fewer pest problems are far more resilient to additional bug populations, boxelder bugs included.
By treating your lawn with a family-safe pesticide monthly, you can kill and repel harmful bugs like mosquitoes, ants, fleas, ticks, and chiggers, which in turn will help keep other pests like boxelder bugs under control.
Start by thoroughly spraying your entire front, back, and side yards with PCO Choice, including shrubbery and bases of trees. For best results, repeat this process in two weeks and then move on to monthly applications afterward.
If you live in a warmer region like the South, applications should be done every month unless the temperature drops below freezing for more than a few weeks. If you live in a state prone to cold spells, start spraying monthly in late February and then taper off in late November as winter begins in earnest.
Because PCO Choice is plant-based and family-safe, no downtime is necessary. You, your family, and pets can enjoy your lawn right after application!
For additional protection, we strongly advise spreading Cedar Granules throughout your outdoor space, especially in and around maple trees and wherever else boxelder bugs congregate.
As fall approaches and boxelder bugs surface in alarmingly large numbers, they tend to collect in clusters on the southern sides of trees and buildings in search of warmth. Trust us, it’s not a fun experience to have a few hundred boxelder bugs just hanging out on the side of your home, leaving behind a yucky mess of droppings and dead, decaying bugs.
Thankfully, there’s an easy, quick, and natural way to break up these annoying gatherings. Just turn your garden hose to full force and give any boxelder bug clusters you come across a quick blast of water. That’s all there is to it. While this won’t solve your boxelder bug problem outright, it can substantially decrease their numbers.
Once boxelder bugs find their way indoors, it can be tricky to get them out. Firstly, crushed boxelder bugs are notorious for staining fabrics, painted walls, and other surfaces. Secondly, when scared or harmed, boxelder bugs emit a noxious odor that can leave your home reeking for weeks. In other words, sweeping them out or gathering them by hand is out of the question. Vacuuming, on the other hand, is a quick, easy, and mess-free way to get boxelder bugs out of your home immediately. Just make sure to thoroughly empty and clean the interior of your vacuum after each use.
To keep bugs outside where they belong during fall and winter, spray trouble areas and known entry points like window sills, doorways, countertops, kitchens, bathrooms, and more with Cedarcide Original weekly, or more often as needed.
To kill any bugs you find indoors, spray them directly with non-toxic Cedarcide Original and then simply wipe them up with a paper towel.