How to get rid of pests inside and outside of your house

Box Elder Bugs

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How To Get Rid Of Box Elder Bugs
1.Cut down or spray female Box elder trees around your house. The female trees are the ones with the seed pods which boxelder bugs feed on. Male trees are usually not a problem.

2. Get rid of hiding places around the home by removing debris like large rocks, mulch, wood, lumber and trash.

3. Caulk cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and foundations to seal off possible entrance areas.

4. Spray the exterior of your house with a hand pump sprayer or power sprayer, concentrating on areas where box elder bugs might be able to squeeze through. A safe residual wettable powder insecticide such as EcoPco works quite well.

EcoPco wettable powder Is a completely safe long-lasting residual insecticide for long-term protection against box elder bugs.

EcoPCO WP-X - 1 lb.

Home remedy to get rid of box elder bugs
Mix 1 tablespoon of dish detergent with 1 cup of water and put in a spray bottle. Spray directly on swarms of these bugs you see on the outside of your house to kill them.  Always test a small area of the building or siding first with the soap solution to be sure it does not stain the surface. Use a bug vacuum to remove them from inside the home. 

Box Elder Bug Trap
Here's how to make a homemade trap that can be used to catch them. It can be made by getting a large piece of white or yellow cardboard (since these bugs are attracted to bright colors )and covering the cardboard with vaseline or two-sided sticky tape They are attracted to warmth so place the trap on the sunniest areas of the exterior of your home. They will crawl onto the trap and get stuck. Don't waste your money on electronic repellers, they will not repel box elder bugs.

boxelder bug.jpg
The box elder bug is black with orange or red markings on the back

"Iv'e been told that if you step on me I stink,,,so don't step on me"
Why Do I Have Box Elder Bugs Coming Into My House
In the fall, boxelder bugs will squeeze into the cracks and crevices of your siding, around your doors or windows, and in the cracks of your house foundation looking for a warm winter home. In many instances you will see boxelder bugs and ladybugs side by side looking for just the right size crack that will allow them to enter the voids and hidden spaces of your house. While they are wintering in your house they will neither eat nor reproduce. The best time to have the exterior of your home sprayed with a good residual insecticide is before they get in. Usually in September or October. These beetles will cause no harm to you or your home, although smashing them can cause stains. They will also produce a smell  if you step on them. Some people refer to them as stink bugs. They are merely a pain in the neck. They come out of hiding and become active when it is warm during the day, even in the winter. It seems like spring or summer to them. As long as it is mild, box elder bugs will congregate on trees and homes. They are sun worshipers and enjoy sunbathing on the siding of your house. They seem to like light-colored homes the best and usually will keep coming back year after year.

 Box elder beetles are attracted to the female Box elder tree. Female trees can be identified by their winged seed pods. Occasionally throughout the summer box elder bugs may even be spotted in silver maple trees.  They hatch in late spring. The newly hatched nymphs feed on the leaves, twigs, and seed pods during the summer without causing damage to the box elder trees. The tree is their food source and that explains the attraction to it. Adults are about inch long, black with red markings along the front edges of their wings.

female box elder tree.jpg
Female Boxeldar Tree With Seed Pods

Young box elder bug. Also called a nyph
young box elder bug.jpg

Information on this webpage has been provided by a certified exterminator.

Questions and Comments About Box Elder Bugs

Thank you so much! We had an enormous infestation this year, here in Crystal Lake, a NW suburb of Chicago. We now know which trees are the Elder trees. In the past, we had noticed an almost blood stain of small red insects at the sunny base of a tree....we had no clue!
But this year with the exceptional heat and drought conditions, they are in the millions. We had to do something!
Took your advice...put a sprayer attachment with Dawn detergent on the hose and it seems to be working. Thank you

Cocoa Beans mixed with mulch may keep Box Elder Bugs away

I’ve had large quantities of box elder bugs on the south side of my house for the past 4/5 years.  They congregate & reproduce in my small planting bed.  This spring, I mulched the small planting bed with crushed cocoa beans.  I have not seen a box elder bug since!!  It appears that they are repelled by the chocolate scent. Perhaps your readers would like to try this and report the results.


Safest Spray For Box Elder Bugs
I was being overrun by these pests in my home!!! I wanted a safe but effective spray to get rid of them. I was so fed up with sweeping and vacuuming three and four times a day (like it does any good.) The south side of my house was pretty covered with box elders during the early day and the west side in the late afternoon. They were usually in thick clusters on the house and foundation. The same on the west side I know the box elders are not dangerous but they are so messy. The other ones I'm not sure about at all. We live in an old farmhouse that has a lot of cracks and crevices; we sealed all we could find last year but they are just as bad this year. We have tried dish soap and Diathanon to kill them to no avail. The house has light gray shingles on it; I understand from reading different articles that light colors can be a problem. I was afraid there was not much I could do to get rid of them, and then my husband sprayed the outside of our house with EcoPCO WPX. No more bugs. The spray worked great in keeping them away from our house. I am having Easter here and now I will be able to enjoy my guests instead of worrying about these pests and having to make sure the food is always covered at all times. They were also in the upstairs and I always would have to check the beds before I let someone sleep in them. EcoPCO WPX is something safe I can spray around in the house and outside also. I have been bitten by one of the beetles (?) myself. I didn't want this happening to my children or little grandchildren. I am eternally grateful. Thank you very, very much!

Safe Spray
Glad to hear your box elder bugs are finally gone, although I'm positive box elders don't bite. Be sure that liquid insecticides are completely dry before letting people or pets come in contact with it.

Do Box Elder Bugs Live In Maple Trees
They prefer the seed pods of a box elder tree but will sometimes set up home in maple trees. Silver maples seem to be very popular with them.

Box elder bugs in firewood
Hi, thanks for the information on box elder bugs on your web site. I was wondering if you could answer me a question. last year i cut down in my yard what the people next door say was a box elder tree because it died, would the wood i have stacked next to my house be the reason the people next door are getting box elders? im not getting any and i don't see any on the wood. p/s they have a brick house and i don't. Thanks for your time.

Box elder bugs in wood
It is possible but not likely. The box elder bugs your neighbors are getting could be coming from from any box elder or silver maple tree up to 300 yards away. If there is any box elder bugs hibernating in your fire wood they will leave in April or may. When the weather warms up they head back to the trees to feed on the leaves. 

Kitchen infested with box elder bugs
My kitchen is infested with these bugs. On sunny days I sometimes vacuum up 100 or more of these beetles. During the spring summer and fall my siding is just covered with them. Is there any spray that will deter boxelder bugs from getting inside of my house and that will also keep them off my siding. Thank you for your response.

How to get rid of box elder bugs in your kitchen
Box elder bugs like to sun-bath on your siding. They are attracted to the warmth. To get rid of them spray your siding and other areas where they gather with a good residual spray in the spring, summer and most importantly in the fall. This is when they try to get into your house for the winter.

What Can I Spray Them With
Hi, I have a real bad box elder bug problem with thousands of them clustered on the outside my home on the siding trying to get in. I have borrowed a back pack sprayer from my neighbor and plan on spraying the complete exterior of my house. I went to another site and it said to use chlorpyrifos (dursban) or diazinon. I have been to 10 different hardware stores and none carry either one of these insecticides. Where can I purchase these sprays or what would you recommend would be best for me to use. Thanks

Hello, Thanks for your question.
Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon were banned by the EPA back in 2000 due to the health risks they cause in humans, especially children.
I believe the insecticide of choice that is used by most exterminators to get rid of box elder bugs is cypermethrin.
Some products that contain cypermethrin are Demon WP, Cynoff WP, Cyper WP. Check to see if they are legal for home-owner use in your state before using

Do pest repellers work to eliminate box elder bugs
Thank you for the information on Box Elder Bugs. Unfortunately I experience a problem with them. Do the electronic Insect Repellers really work? Would they be useful against the Box Elder Bugs?
Again, want to thank you for your very informative Web Page.

Pest repellers and box elder bugs. No,electric repellers would not work against boxelder bugs. You might want to try puffing non toxic diatomaceous earth in cracks and crevices inside and outside of your house.

Do Box Elder Bugs Like Light Colored Houses The Best
I have read online that they do, but not from any reliable sources. I sprayed many dark colored homes when I was spraying professionally.  I wouldn't go out and paint your house black.

Glass Cleaner Will Kill Them
box elder bug remedy

Just wanted to let you know how I stopped box elder beetles from coming in around my doors and windows. Yesterday was a nice sunny fall day so I decided to go outside and wash all my windows. The beetles were very active and were flying all over the place, so I started spraying them with the window cleaner I was using. They dropped dead almost immediately. I decided to spray all the cracks around my doors and windows with the cleaner. Haven't seen a box elder beetle inside or outside of my house since.

Sounds like a real good remedy. The soap in your glass cleaner destroys the waxy coating that protects the bug and they die. This will work on most soft shell insects.

Do boxelder bugs cause health problems in people
Read your page on the box elder bugs. It was very informative.  We do however had dead box elders in our ceiling lights and were wondering if
this could be a source for us getting lots of sinus infections over the winter. these lights are about six feet high and we are trying to get someone to remove the bugs.
Thanks for any help.

Answer --
Boxelders cause no health hazards to humans.