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How to get rid of boxelder bugs. Myths vs. Reality.

 

Moth balls, soapy water, bug bombs...I'm sure you've heard all sorts of wives' tales on how to get rid of boxelder bugs. So, what's the truth??

Let's talk science for a second. (My favorite thing. Tee-hee!)

This is a boxelder bug.

boxelder bug photo
Photo courtesy Ricky Kluge at Illinois Natural History Survey

These are also boxelder bugs.

boxelder bug nymphs  resized 600
Boxelder bug nymphs (Younger stages)

The boxelder bug:

  • likes to bask in the sun
  • feeds on seed-bearing female boxelder trees, but also like maple and ash trees
  • lays eggs on the trunks of these trees
  • seeks shelter in cracks and crevices on buildings to survive winter seasons
  • emerges in spring once temperatures are warmer, but will occassionally emerge earlier on sunny days
  • choose the south and west sides of buildings to swarm to because they're the sunniest and warmest
  • population is most abundant during hot, dry summers

The boxelder tree:

Boxelder tree resized 600

And these are the seed pods.

Boxelder Tree seeds resized 600

If you have one of these trees in your yard and it happens to be a female, you're most likely going to attract more boxelder bugs than the neighbor down the road with no trees in his yard. This does not whatsoever mean that you should cut that tree down. It just explains why these boxelder bugs are swarming to your property. Let's face it. Even if you don't have a boxelder tree in your yard, there could be other factors making your house look more awesome to a boxelder bug. And besides, there are ways to kill boxelder bugs before they even become a nuisance.

How to get rid of boxelder bugs.
Myths vs. Reality.

  1. Will soapy water kill boxelder bugs? Sorry folks. This will make them fall off of your house and may drown a few, but it's not going to solve the problem. They're still going to keep flying onto your house if the sun's out.
  2. Will bug bombs get rid of boxelder bugs in the house? Boxelder bugs can leave marks on your curtains and walls, they smell bad and they're SO CREEPY and ANNOYING! Bombs are a mess though. And the truth is, bombs will push them further into wall voids where they're just going to spend time reproducing. FAIL.
  3. If I put moth balls in my attic will they kill boxelder bugs? Besides smelling awful, these will do absolutely NOTHING to control boxelder bugs.  Wah Wahhhhh...

will moth balls get rid of boxelder bugs

So how do you get rid of boxelder bugs?

Prevention, TAP insulation and exclusion. What?? Think about it. If you know boxelder bugs are terrible in the spring and fall, take action before they even start flocking to the inside of your house during those seasons. I know this is easier said than done a lot of times. You typically don't think about bugs until you see them. Totally understandable. But that only means you have an opportunity to be smarter about this next year.

Prevention

A bug infestation of any sort is harder to control once it's in full swing. A lot of our customers know when to expect their house to become inundated with these annoying boxelder bugs. We have designed a program around that to treat the exteriors of their houses before the bugs get bad. The products we use last up to three months and will continue to repel all kinds of bugs that try to land on the house. It works so well for boxelder bugs and asian beetles, spiders, flies, and pretty much any other creepy crawler that tries to invade your home. Without doing major repairs on your house, this is the next best thing. It's cost effective, will keep the bugs out for the most part and will give you peace of mind.

prevention pest control chicago

TAP Insulation

Thermal Acoustical Pest Control insulation is nothing short of awesome. It's the latest addition to our Special Services Division and has so many benefits. For areas in your house that you don't go into very often, like your attic, TAP will do the work for you.

What is TAP?

  • green and environmentally friendly
  • Energy Star-labeled product (will lower your energy costs)
  • EPA-certified for pest management
  • 32% more energy efficient than traditional insulation
  • made from recycled paper and natural borates
  • opportunity for tax credit
  • blown-in right on top of your existing insulation
  • increases property value
  • energy and sound-deadening AND
  • a service now offered by Rose Pest Solutions!

TAP insulation process

Exclusion

This is the ultimate permanent fix. The reason why pests get into your house is because they're finding gaps, cracks, and crevices to squeeze through. The incentive for them finding these can be to get away from predators, find shelter away from the outdoor elements (especially in winter), and access food sources. Boxelder bugs will squeeze into these crevices as the weather gets colder so that they can survive the harsh cold temperatures of winter out of the elements. Rodents seek shelter and food sources. Removing their access points solves the problem at the root. Now, isn't that GREEN?!

When our technician comes out to your home for an exclusion quote (free estimates, by the way), he or she will inspect your house and property for entry points. Then they'll tell you how the repairs will be made.

Here are a few things we use for exclusion services:

  • copper wire mesh
  • expandable foam
  • caulk
  • screens
  • vent covers
  • siding corner caps
  • chimney caps
  • deterrents

caulking siding resized 600

Solving the problem at its root is how we roll. You may be surprised at how affordable a permanent solution may be! We give free pest control estimates. You don't know until you ask!

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Comments

I would like to see a picture of the nests, so I know how to identify them and eliminate them.
Posted @ Sunday, March 03, 2013 5:34 PM by J Davis
@J Davis: Our staff entomologist, Bery Pannkuk, has sent a detailed email regarding your inquiry. They don't actually "nest". They form clusters to stay warm, but they're not a social insect like wasps or ants. Feel free to reply to Bery's email if you need more tips or help with controlling them. Thanks!
Posted @ Monday, March 04, 2013 8:56 AM by Janine
I have just recently bought a house in a small town. We have remodeled a bit and have noticed box elder bugs all over. We can't seem to figure out where they are coming from. Our house is two stories with basement and small attic space. It is an older home. I have never dealt with these bugs before so I don't know what their nests look like or anything. Can someone please help!
Posted @ Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:32 PM by Crystal
This is good step taken to measurise the bugs all around and for each species <strong>pest removal services</strong> of bedbugs and bees we require different medicines to eradicate them
Posted @ Friday, August 02, 2013 7:22 AM by sandy
I would really like to know how to kill and prevent them from coming inside without caulking/etc. I live in an apartment complex and cannot do any form of prevention! I just moved in this summer and they're ALL over my front door, walls, the walkway (I live on the second floor). The complex is concrete and has lots of nooks and crannies, and faces towards the sun, so I think this is why there are so many of them. What can I use to kill them?
Posted @ Monday, October 07, 2013 3:14 PM by Alice
@Alice, that gets tricky. Without being able to alter the structure of the building, there won't be much in your control to go about this in a "green" way. Especially when dealing with brick or concrete and because of the direction it's facing, I'm afraid the only solution would be some sort of residual liquid product applied to the exterior. They do make botanical products that have rosemary oil or spearmint and various other essential herbs in them that would provide some knock down relief. The problem you'll face now is also that temperatures are dropping at night to below freezing degrees. Once that happens, any type of residual product will break down with the freeze. You could always treat around the windows from inside your place to attempt to keep them from getting through from the outside. That may be your best bet. :/
Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 1:49 PM by Janelle
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