Boxelder bugs invade homes as overwintering pests, especially during the fall in preparation for the cold months ahead. Boxelder bugs are seasonal insects that seek warm places to shelter in winter. You won’t see much of them during the actual winter period, but the few that you do see should serve as a signal of the looming infestation.
They mostly hide out in the cracks and crevices of people’s homes. The problem comes when their numbers cause a full-blown pest infestation. You’ll experience this in its fullest in spring. This is when they finally come out in search of food, when the temperatures are conducive and the sun is out for them to bask in.
Boxelder bugs are not scary bugs. They don’t bite or spread diseases, but they can be quite vexing to homeowners. These bugs breed and multiply rapidly in a short period of time. They swarm the south and west sides of buildings, which tend to be the sunniest and warmest. When disturbed or crushed, they excrete fluids that have strong, unpleasant odors. These fluids can also stain surfaces around your house.
Signs to Look Out For
There are certain factors in the setup of a home that create a conducive environment for boxelder bugs. Noticing these signs beforehand can help put an end to the cycle of these bugs before it even begins.
The trees in your yard are one of these. The trees to look out for include female boxelder trees, maple trees, and ash trees. Boxelder bugs live in these trees as they lay their eggs and feed on their seeds. With any of these trees—especially the female boxelder tree—your home becomes more attractive for boxelder bugs. But this isn’t the only attracting factor. There are also the cracks situation in your home, which if not handled, offers a home to boxelder bugs when it gets cold.
What Not to Do
There are a lot of old wives’ tales out there, on both the internet and in local neighborhood conversations, about the best ways to deal with boxelder bugs. If you’ve tried them, then you’re familiar with their ineffectiveness. If you haven’t tried them, then here they are. We’re sharing them so that you don’t waste your time and resources on disappointing results.
- Soapy water. This may seem like a viable option because of the ingredients: soap and water. Bugs don’t like a lot of water because they tend to drown. Soap contains chemicals that aren’t conducive to their continued existence. Soapy water will drown and kill a few boxelder bugs. But sadly, it won’t necessarily deal with their rapid breeding. So, no, this isn’t a viable option.
- Mothballs. This is another common boxelder bug control method, which to some may seem legit. Mothballs are good for dealing with moths. But just because moths and boxelder bugs are insects doesn’t mean that the same means are effective on both. So save yourself from that awful mothball odor if you aren’t dealing with moths.
- Bug bombs. Again, the same chemical combinations won’t kill all bugs. Boxelder bugs don’t like bug bombs, but bug bombs just force the bugs to seek different parts of your house to dwell in. This means they’ll move deeper into the walls as they continue to breed and multiply. Bug bombs are a bit counterproductive to the intended mission considering that they can also cause smelly messes and stains around your house.
What to Do
When handling pests, your best bet is to deal with them before they even get the chance to invade your home. You can do this by restricting their access to your home, by noting the signs beforehand and taking the necessary measures.
If you can read the signs, such as the ones mentioned above, prevention becomes easier. Prevention is much more cost effective than having to deal with a boxelder bug invasion, so here are some prevention tips.
Thermal Acoustical Pest Control Insulation
This is a new kind of environmentally-friendly prevention method, better known as TAP insulation. TAP is made from recycled paper and natural borates. It covers areas in your house that you hardly have time to attend to, which are the areas that boxelder bugs thrive in.
This is an EPA-certified pest management option that offers a more energy-efficient insulation choice. It doesn’t only keep the bugs out, but also adds value to your property.
Fortify Your Home
When seeking survival, pests will seize any opportunity they find in their surrounding environment. This includes gaps, such as cracks and crevices in your home, which are an indirect invitation for boxelder bugs to move in.
By fortifying your home against this kind of intrusion, you’ll be permanently fixing your boxelder problem before it even begins. You can achieve this by sealing the gaps and covering the cracks and crevices in your home. Objects used to fortify homes against bug invasions include deterrents, siding corner craps, vent covers, and expandable foam, just to name a few.
It can still be quite challenging for some homeowners to deal with pests they haven’t seen yet. The thing is that when you do see them, it will probably be when your home is overrun by them. Worry not, though, because even when plagued with these bugs, there are viable eradication options.
Some stores sell specific insecticides for dealing with boxelder bugs. So when shopping, it’s important to buy an insecticide labeled for use on boxelder bugs.
It’s also important to read the instructions carefully. If you buy an insecticide concentrate, you need to make sure that you mix the right quantities to ensure effectiveness. Once you have the right mix, then you need to treat the following areas:
- the corners of rooms,
- the space below appliances,
- door and window frames,
- the space where baseboards meet the wall, and
- utility pipe entry points.
Insecticide dust is a ready-to-use product. Its main use is to cover the crevices and cracks in your home that boxelder bugs would use for entry. There are specific dust insecticides labeled and meant for use on boxelder bugs.
These also include application instructions. You should follow these instructions to the letter to ensure the treatment is effective and safe. Insecticide dust is usually applied around the house, including:
- the space under appliances,
- under furniture,
- below sinks,
- in the space behind outlets,
- around door and window frames, and
- in cracks and crevices (of course).
Note that these insecticides can be toxic. You must keep them out of reach of pets and children.
All in all, the best way to deal with any pest infestation is by tackling the problem before it even starts. Prevention is also quite cost-effective as it saves you money that you would otherwise have to spend in the eradication process. These prevention and eradication methods need a professional’s touch, so seek professional help to ensure the best results.