How To Kill Boxelder Bugs
Boxelder bugs are little insects that barely grow past 1/2 an inch in length. They have characteristic red stripes on their wings and tend to show up in large numbers during the spring. That is when they hatch in boxelder trees, eat twigs, seeds, leaves, and make a nuisance of themselves in your home. Come winter, they find warm and dry places in your home to hibernate. Also known as box elder bugs, western boxelder bugs, and stink bugs are actually true bugs and are not exactly harmful to humans or their pets. Which could lead one to wonder why almost every homeowner is looking for tips on how to kill boxelder bugs?
‘They Are A Nuisance Bug!’
That is why many homeowners have different tips and tricks on how to kill or get rid of them before it becomes a bug infestation. They always try to move into your home in large numbers come fall, when the weather gets a little colder. Even though both adults and their nymphs are not harmful to humans, they do occasionally bite.
They also tend to stain your fabrics with their excrement, and when you crush or kill them, they release a terribly nauseating odor. When it comes to dealing with boxelder bugs, offence is the best defense. Once these little insects begin to congregate in your home, they emit the same foul smell to attract other boxelder bugs. Before you know it, they will be everywhere, and your home will be overrun.
Infestation, Characteristics, And Breeding Habits Of Boxelder Bugs
These insects swarm in very large numbers as this tweet would attest to:
The past two days I have killed about 4362 boxelder bugs in my apartment
— Q (@QuinnMcGlothlin) September 30, 2017
In the spring, boxelder bugs hatch in the boxelder tree. Chances are very good that if you have a boxelder tree in your backyard, then your property will attract a lot of these flying pests. However, it is not all about the boxelder tree. They also hatch in different types of fruit trees, as well as ash and maple. Because these insects eat seeds, twigs, and leaves, it is very difficult to eradicate their food source.
Typical boxelder bug habits and characteristics:
- These bugs like the sun and they seem to enjoy basking in it.
- They prefer to feed on seed-bearing female boxelder trees as well as ash and maple trees.
- They lay their eggs on the trunks of the trees that they feed on.
- During winter, these insects seek shelter in cracks and crevices on buildings in order to survive the frigid weather.
- They typically come out to play in spring when the weather is warmer and friendlier. They do, however, sometimes emerge early if there are sunny days.
- They tend to swarm to the west and south sides of buildings because they’re often warmer and sunnier.
- They swarm in large numbers during summer and spring when the temperatures are warm to hot.
Here is a tweet showing you how it looks like when boxelder bugs invade:
— Plunkett's Pest (@plunkettspest) October 2, 2017
Once you learn how they behave, you can quickly come up with a plan of how to kill boxelder bugs. That being said, there are still some widespread myths on how to get rid of these insects that quite frankly, as the name would suggest, do not work. Here is a list of some myths as well as tips on how to kill boxelder bugs:
How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs: Reality Vs. Myths
Here are some common myths that do not work when trying to kill boxelder bugs.
Using soapy water to kill boxelder bugs: This is a common myth that, unfortunately, just doesn’t work. Well, it doesn’t work as effectively as it should. Although you might end up drowning a few of these insects in your soapy water, as well as make them fall off your slippery walls, once the sun comes out and they dry up, they will be right back up and try to fly into your home again.
Can you use mothballs? Quite frankly, this is just another way to make your home smell awful. Using mothballs does nothing to kill or eradicate boxelder bugs.
How about using bug bombs? Just like boxelder bugs, bug bombs create quite a bit of a mess in your home. Using bug bombs to get rid of boxelder bugs will only go towards driving them deeper into the cracks in your walls where they will hibernate and wait for summer or spring to come out and keep annoying you.
So, just how can you get rid of these creatures or keep them from invading your home? For the most part, when it comes to boxelder bugs, prevention is often the best course of action. But before we get to that, here are some tips you can try
Use a residual insecticide: Pyrethrin-based residual insecticides are a good start to fighting and getting rid of boxelder bugs. Using one on the crevices and cracks of your walls will ensure that these bugs are eradicated before they migrate into your home come winter time.
Douse them with water: Although this is a temporary fix, one of the best ways to manage swarms of boxelder bugs is to keep disrupting their build-up. By blasting those with a forceful stream of water from your garden hose will not only get them off your walls, but it will also temporarily keep them from congregating.
Use an insecticidal soap: There are brands of insecticidal soap that you can use to get rid of big clusters of boxelder bugs. Although these insecticidal soaps are highly effective when used, you have to spray them directly at the bugs for them to work. They have no residual effects and are, therefore, only good for momentary
This video gives you a good idea of how to get kill boxelder bugs:
When all is said and done, however, you will still need the expertise and services of a pest management professional. These are the individuals who know exactly what to do to not only get rid of the boxelder bugs in your home but to do so without leaving that awful smell. They also know the best ways to help you boxelder-proof your home so that come winter, these little creatures will not think to overwinter on your property.
How To Prevent Boxelder Bugs From Infesting Your Home
Any pest management professional will tell you that when it comes to insects such as boxelder bugs, prevention is always the best defense. There is one main way to keep them outside of your home: seal it up. You can easily seal up your home using cement, wire mesh, caulk, netting and anything else that you think might work.
This method is very effective when implemented during the summer when the bugs are out in the sun and before they think of coming inside to overwinter. As expert pest management professionals, we can give you a few good tips on how to seal your home up depending on your exact set-up. Just give us a call and one of our consultants will help walk you through the whole thing.
Most Common FAQs About Boxelder Bugs
In your quest to learn how to kill boxelder bugs, you have probably asked yourself a few of these questions:
Are They Harmful To Humans?
Boxelder bugs are actually not harmful to humans or their pets. They are just a major nuisance and inconvenience.
What Happens If I Just Leave Them Alone?
During winter, these insects will hideout inside the cracks in your walls until warmer temperatures return. Unfortunately, sometimes, these warmer temperatures could come from your air conditioning. This will drive boxelder bugs out of their overwinter hideouts and into the warm rooms within your home where they will continue to annoy you and the family all winter long.
Can Boxelder Bugs Cause Damage To My Property?
Although they feed on twigs and the boxelder tree, these insects do not cause any damage to your property. They are primarily harmless and only thoroughly irritate your family members. They also smell really bad and can stain your walls as well as curtains and furniture.
Are There Any Permanent Boxelder Prevention Methods?
The only permanent method is to ensure that these bugs have nothing to eat on your property. That includes removal and replacement of boxelder trees and silver maple with other trees that these bugs do not like to eat.
Why Hire A Pest Management Professional?
When it comes to dealing with pests, especially those of the ‘nuisance and swarming’ variety, the best course of action is both prevention and hiring a pest management professional. The easiest way to go about this is to contact us today and let us help you get rid of these stinky insects from your property. Our experts know all there is to know about eradicating boxelder bugs as well as other types of pest.
When we visit your property, we will proactively give you excellent and practical advice on how to bug-proof your home, show you a few tricks and tips on how to kill boxelder bugs and ensure that there aren’t any other forms of pest infestations building up without your knowledge. Give us a call today and let us help keep your home pest and bug-free throughout the seasons.