Warming temperatures, the growth of plants, and the arrival of bugs mark the beginning of spring. Some insects, like the boxelder bug, hide in homes until winter passes. Once spring arrives, these bugs start popping up in homes. We’ve gathered information to help you keep your home free of boxelder bugs.
Boxelder Bug 101
Boxelder bugs are black with red markings on their back. They have an oval-shaped body and they grow to be about 1/2ʺ in length. These bugs feed on boxelder trees, which is where their name comes from. They’re active during the warm months of the year. As fall approaches, these pests search for a warm and sheltered place to hide. They gather on the sunny side of houses and buildings before making their way into homes. Once inside, they will often hide in small cracks and crevices. These pests aren’t considered dangerous, but if handled, their sucking mouthparts can puncture skin causing an irritated bump. They also produce an unpleasant odor when crushed and their droppings can leave behind red stains.
Boxelder Bugs in Spring
During the spring and fall, boxelder bugs can become problematic. As temperatures rise, these pests become active. If they were hiding in your home throughout winter, you are likely to see them crawling around your home. They often invade homes in groups, which can lead to a large infestation. Springtime is also when boxelder bugs feed and lay eggs. The continuous feeding of a plant can cause discoloration to leaves. While these pests prefer to be outdoors in warm weather, once fall rolls around, they’ll begin invading homes again.
Preventing boxelder bugs from getting into your home is always better than having to fight an infestation. Preventative measures can be taken in the spring and fall to help ensure your home stays bug-free. Check out a few tips for keeping these pests away from your home.
Seal Entry Points
Boxelder bugs make their way inside through any hole they can find. Examine your house for any cracks and make sure to seal them. Repair or replace damaged window and door screens. You can also install door sweeps to make sure bugs can’t slip under your doors.
Though boxelder bugs typically hide in wall voids, they will go wherever they can find a safe spot. Eliminating clutter in your home can reduce potential hiding spots. If you have cardboard boxes or stacks of paper, you’ll want to remove them.
Watch Your Trees
If you have boxelder trees in your yard or neighborhood, these pests will find them. Removing fallen seeds from the tree can help deter boxelder bugs. If you want to plant a boxelder tree in your yard, it’s best to go with a non-seed-bearing one.
Treating a Boxelder Bug Infestation
It’s important to quickly control a boxelder bug infestation. Once these bugs are in your walls, eliminating them can be difficult. Dead boxelder bugs can attract other pests including beetle species. As soon as you notice them in spring or fall, you’ll want to take a few steps to get rid of them.
Resist the temptation to crush the pests to avoid releasing an unpleasant odor in your home. Instead, use a vacuum to remove boxelder bugs. You’ll need to empty the bag into a tightly sealed trashcan to keep them from coming back.
Spray Them Away
If you notice these pests gathering on the side of your house, you can use a hose to remove them. The bugs will be knocked down from the pressure of the water. This method also works for removing them from your trees.
Though these pests love boxelder trees, other plants aren’t as attractive to them. Using a natural, plant-based insecticide spray, like our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray, can help eliminate an infestation. Applying it to common entry points can also help prevent bugs from entering your home.
Applying our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Yard Bug Spray to the perimeter of your yard can also keep your home bug-free. Not only will it kill boxelder bugs on contact, it will also provide you with residual repellency. This will act as a barrier, deterring boxelder bugs from coming into your yard and home.
No one wants to find boxelder bugs crawling around their home this spring. Thankfully, a few preventative measures and the right treatment method can help keep your home free of these pests. If bugs are giving you a fit, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.