Boxelder bugs are some of the worst bugs to deal with. While they don’t cause a lot of damage to your property like other bugs, they are disgusting when a massive swarm appears. The smell caused by such a swarm is also gag-worthy and repulsive.
As with all bugs and pests, it’s important to know how to deal with boxelder bug swarms when they appear, and to prevent them from occurring again. In any case, you’ll want to try and prevent them from coming in the first place. All of the solutions you need to know about for every approach is detailed in my guide below.
A Snapshot of Boxelder Bug Habits
Boxelder bugs can be found all over North America and are mainly attracted to ash and maple trees. If you have these in your yard, then you’ve probably seen evidence of them around. Their usual markings are dark brown or black with red veins on their wings, making them look pretty hazardous.
Contrary to their markings, they’re not super destructive to your property. It’s just that overpowering smell that comes when large swarms appear. When this happens, boxelder bugs become incredibly invasive, and you’ll need to do all you can to clear them out quickly.
Infestations are most likely to appear during the autumn months when the weather gets colder, and they look for warmer places to live. These can include the interior of your home. Now is the time to get them out, so let’s look at some of the solutions you can use.
A Simple Blast of Garden Hose
If you need a quick fix to get rid of a growing cluster of boxelder bugs, a standard garden hose will do the trick. Sure, this approach won’t kill or reduce the numbers of bugs on your property, but it will clear them out temporarily.
Boxelder bugs have a tendency to try and get into your property by building up around your doors and windows. A quick spray with a hose disperses them to stop them from forcing their way in.
I personally use the Sooprinse High-Pressure Washer Gun since it can easily screw onto the end of my garden hose and only has 3,000psi. This means it won’t break any windows on full blast.
Replace Boxelder Tree Favorites
As I said before, boxelder bugs are mainly attracted to the seeds of maple and oak trees, so if you have these in your garden, then you could have a problem. One way to get rid of boxelder bugs and prevent them from coming back from completely is to pull these trees out and then replace them.
You can choose any variety of trees you want, or you can simply opt for the male variety of maple and oak trees. Since male trees won’t produce seeds, boxelder bugs won’t be attracted, and you’ll have rid yourself of the issue.
Using Powerful Insecticide
I found that the worst places for boxelder bugs to gather are in the cracks and crevices around my home. This is especially the case with cracks around my window frames or in my paving. The best way to clear them from these areas is to blitz them with insecticide, killing them off within a few hours.
There are few deterrents more powerful than this.
I found that using a Pyrethrin-based insecticide, like this one from Evergreen, works best and was easy to use. Just make sure you’re using these chemicals outside your home, never inside, and are wearing gloves and a mask when applying it. Never breathe in the chemicals, and always keep out of the way of pets and children as it’s toxic!
The Non-Nuclear Approach
Whether the boxelder bugs are already inside your home, or you can’t use insecticide due to pets or children, there is a non-toxic solution to try. Typical bug zappers that use UV light to attract bugs and then electrocute them work really well and can be moved easier around your home.
The ZALIK Bug Zapper Insect Killer did an excellent job of removing large groups of boxelders, and it works on other bugs and pests too.
Vacuum Them Out of the House
If boxelder bugs have managed to find their way inside, and you have a few clusters here and there, you can vacuum them up. This is a great way to clear them up since boxelder bugs don’t reproduce indoors. They only hide from the winter here.
The only thing you’ll want to remember is making sure not to squish the bugs. Boxelders are known for leaving stains on your walls or carpets, which is why I’m recommending you vacuum them, rather than physically move them outside.
Use a Professional Service
If worse comes to worst and you really can’t get rid of your boxelder infestation yourself, it’s time to call in the professionals. Search online for pest control services in your local area and see which offer boxelder removal.
You may want to research a couple of services, so you can compare prices and find the best deal. Pest control services can be expensive, so make sure you’re not getting ripped off!
How the service gets rid of your bug problem depends on the service, and they might use a mixture of solutions we’ve spoken about but using commercial products. In the worst-case scenario, they may need to fumigate your home.
Play the Waiting Game
I wouldn’t really recommend this approach if you’re dealing with a large infestation because that’s just gross, but it does work. Boxelder bugs aren’t going to stay in your house forever, only during winter, so they will leave on their accord when the weather gets warmer.
As soon as the sun comes out, they’ll start to leave, and you’ll be free from them for the rest of the year. If you’re noticing your infestation in the spring, then you might just need to wait a week. But in any other time, you’re going to have to act using the methods above.