How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs, named for their diet of boxelder tree seeds and leaves, are black insects with reddish or orange markings on their back. Adult boxelder bugs are about a half inch long with an elongate-oval body. Nymph boxelder bugs look like adults but are smaller, bright red with little to no black, and do not have wings.

While boxelder bugs are native to the western United States, they can be found from eastern Canada through the eastern U.S. and west to eastern Nevada—wherever boxelder trees are found.

What Causes Boxelder Bugs?

Boxelder bugs are considered nuisance pests. They are known to enter structures, including homes, sheds, and garages in the fall to survive chilly winter weather. Homeowners may spot these pests once winter ends and the boxelder bugs leave to reenter the outdoors. Even though boxelder bugs do not pose a threat to humans, many people still want to know how to get rid of boxelder bugs.

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs in Your Home

Eliminate possible points of entry to prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home. Repair holes in door and window screens, seal crevices and cracks with caulk and install door sweeps to all exterior entrances.

If boxelder bugs have already entered your home, avoid killing them by treating wall voids. Dead insect bodies can attract dermestid beetles in search of food. Pest experts recommend waiting until the summer when all overwintering adults will have left the structure. 

However, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove living or dead boxelder bugs. After vacuuming, remove the bag to prevent the bugs from escaping. Then, seal up points of entry around the exterior of your home to prevent a future infestation.

If you suspect a boxelder bug infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional to evaluate and correct the problem.

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