How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs


California’s fantastic weather is a magnet for tourists — people from all over the world make their way to the sunshine state for the many attractions it beholds. But it is also a magnet for all sorts of bugs.

One of the most common bugs that plague homeowners in California is the boxelder bug, which can be easily distinguished by its bright red abdomen, and three red lines that run horizontally on its dorsal prothorax. Boxelder bugs are sometimes called maple bugs or scentless plant bugs. They have black oval-shaped bodies, with unique red or orange marking on their back.

Boxelder bugs belong to the same family as stink bugs and look quite similar in appearance. When smashed or crushed both of these releases an unpleasant pungent smell. Though a nuisance pest, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs cause no harm to humans.

Boxelder bugs are generally found on boxelder, maple, and ash trees. Though these bugs feed typically on box elder trees, they might venture into your home during winter to find warmth.

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

Here’s how you can get rid of boxelder bugs in your house:

  • Step 1: Use a Vacuum Cleaner

    Use a vacuum cleaner on the floors, windowsills, behind the curtains, and doorways, to get rid of the pre-existing boxelder bug infestation.

  • Step 2: Use an Insect Trap

    Use an effective insect trap in hard-to-reach crevices of your house like the gaps between the cupboards and wall, under wardrobes, to trap the boxelder bugs that might be left.

  • Step 3: Seal All the Entrances

    Now seal the entrances of your home to prevent the entry of more bugs into your home.

  • Step 4: Use a Homemade Insecticide

    If you spot a rogue bug in your house, keep a solution of homemade insecticide ready to use. Homemade insecticides can range from anything from liquid dish soap in a spray water bottle or pepper spray, depending on what you have lying at home.

  • Step 5: Call for Additional Help

    Though boxelder bugs are harmless, their presence in your house might attract other disease-carrying pests in your home. So it’s best to get rid of them. If these DIY tips don’t help you to get rid of these bugs, call a pest control service.

Prevention is better than cure — this holds true when dealing with pests in your house. Even if you think you’ve gotten rid of the boxelder bug infestation in your house, there’s no harm in getting an inspection done by a residential pest control agency to be on the safer side.

Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful to Humans?

  • Boxelder bugs are not disease-carrying organisms. But a large-scale infestation can attract pests like beetles that feed on them to your home.
  • Boxelder bugs tend to emit a unique odor when they are crushed or disturbed. But if there is a huge infestation, their excrement can leave a foul odor.
  • Moreover, boxelder bugs don’t bite, but their bites can cause slight irritation and cause red bumps on the skin.

How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs Outside

You can stop the boxelder bugs from getting into your house by eradicating them from your backyard. Here are a few methods that might help:

  • Use Diatomaceous Earth As a Natural Insecticide

    Diatomaceous earth, an organic, talc-like powder made of fossilized microalgae, is deadly to boxelder bugs but harmless to humans and their furry friends. Diatomaceous earth is readily available at home and garden centers and can be used outside the house around the base of boxelder, maple, or ash trees.

  • Use a Small Amount of Insecticide

    Insecticides inside DIY can be dangerous. Use a small amount of insecticide in the hard-to-reach cracks and crevices outside of your home. This will make sure that no bugs enter the house, and are killed immediately if they do.

  • Replace Boxelder Trees

    Replace the female boxelder trees with the non-seed-bearing male boxelder trees (which are useless to the boxelder bugs), or plant some other species of trees that don’t attract bugs.

Cutting down trees is a more drastic step to be taken when the infestation gets out of hand, and the pros of cutting down trees outweigh the cons.

Boxelder bugs are a nuisance pest. Though it is easy to control the spread of an infestation at the early stages, it is best to consult a professional pest control service before it becomes unmanageable.

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