Control a Box Elder Bug Infestation

The box elder bug is not harmful to plants or people. But they are annoying when they invade homes in fall. Learn how to get rid of them.

How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs

Box Elder Bugs Gettyimages 92021534ROBERT_SCHAFER_PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES
Fall is the best time to stop a box elder bug infestation.

“Help! We have box elder bugs everywhere! Is there anything we can do to get rid of them?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Pamela Naylor of Brockway, Michigan.

Garden expert Melinda Myers writes, “A box elder bug is not harmful to plants or people. But they sure are annoying. The immature bugs feed on ground-level vegetation. The adults move to box elder trees, a type of maple, and can sometimes be found on other maples as well. Their feeding doesn’t harm the trees.”

Bnbasshs 116965141Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock.com
Vacuum up box elder bugs indoors to avoid staining walls or furniture.

Melinda continues, “The problem occurs when the adults seek a warm sunny spot, usually the side of your house, to warm themselves in fall. As temperatures cool they often find their way indoors through cracks and crevices. So repair and fill any crevices to keep these insects out of the house. Manage infestations by vacuuming as they congregate, or spray the side of your house with soapy water. Avoid using pesticides or insecticides whenever possible to reduce the risk to pollinators and beneficial insects.”

The Family Handyman says late summer and fall are the best times to control box elder bugs around your home. Seal all possible bug entry points with caulk or spray foam. Install door sweeps on exterior entry doors and add a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors. Also replace any damaged window and door screens as well as those around your roof and soffit vents.

Learn how to get rid of stink bugs.

Backyard Tip

Shutterstock 174325784 BoxelderJASON PATRICK ROSS/SHUTTERSTOCK
Box elder bugs are orange and black

If you’re going to spray any solution on your house, even soapy water, make sure it won’t affect the color of your siding by testing on a small area.

Next, learn how to tell the difference between ladybugs vs Asian beetles.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.