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Nuisance Pests—Boxelder Bugs

Daily life is full of small things that annoy us—slow wifi, traffic, or when someone puts the toilet paper roll on backwards, to name a few. The dictionary defines ‘nuisance’ as a person, thing, or situation that is annoying or that causes trouble or problems. If there were a bug listed in the definition, it would be the boxelder.

Boxelder bugs are known for being nuisance pests. They don’t sting, they don’t transmit diseases, and they usually don’t bite (there have been a few reports of defensive biting only). They don’t damage your home or cause significant damage to plants. They are, quite simply, annoying. (And gross—their feces leave stains on light colored surfaces, and smashing them releases an unpleasant odor.)

This annoying little pest likes your home. During the summer, they’ve been feeding and reproducing on the box elder trees in your neighborhood. As the weather turns colder in the fall and winter, they start seeking shelter from the cold, and they can enter your home by the thousands. (Yes, thousands!) Boxelder bugs can fly up to two miles to find a good location, and hopefully they don’t decide that their winter hotel is your house.

If you do find boxelder bugs inside your home, here are some tips to help control the infestation:

  • Vacuum them up, and then dispose of the bag promptly. The vacuum bag can also be placed in your freezer overnight to kill the bugs inside.
  • Boxelder bugs find their way inside your home through windows, doors, ceiling lights, dryer vents, outdoor faucets, and along siding. Consider caulking or sealing any cracks and crevices around your home and installing screens and weather stripping to help keep them from entering.
  • Water is a good weapon for boxelder bugs. You may want to wash any bugs from your home’s exterior by spraying your outside walls with water.
  • Consider removing their primary food source. Female, or seed bearing, box elder trees can be removed. If you wish, you can replace them with male, or non-seed bearing trees, which do not attract boxelder bugs.
  • Remove all wood stacks, leaf and rock piles, and overgrown plants near your home as they provide shelter for boxelder bugs.
  • If you choose to try a pesticide, be sure to read the label and choose one with low toxicity. To be on the safe side, leave boxelder extermination to the professionals at Green Pest Control. They know exactly what they’re looking for and how to exterminate them safely. Then you can go back to being annoyed by the important things, like junk mail.