How To Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs in Your Home

Although they’re mostly harmless, boxelder bugs congregate in large swarms and can invade your home when it’s cold. Here’s how to get rid of them.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Boxelder bugs make their way into homes when the outside temperature begins to drop and they are searching for warmth. You can get rid of boxelder bugs by vacuuming them up, spraying them with a soap and water solution, and sealing up cracks around your home.
Insect roommates are generally regarded as unwelcome, and boxelder bugs are no exception. Although these bugs won’t
wreak havoc on your drapes or floorboards
, they can become a total smelly nuisance when gathered in their swarms. 
Here to help you get rid of the seasonal boxelder bug invasion (or prevent one in the first place) is the
super app
homeowners insurance
. This article will explore why boxelder bugs are attracted to your home, how you can get rid of them, and what you can do to keep them out.

How to tell if you’ve got a boxelder bug problem 

Boxelder bugs are most commonly found inside when the weather begins to cool off for the season. They can invade your home, your garage, or any indoor space that seems more inviting than the cold outdoors. 
These bugs also like to stick together, so you’ll often find large congregations of them rather than just a few. *Shudder*. Here’s how to spot them.

What do boxelder bugs look like?

Boxelder bugs are only about half an inch in length—they aren’t the most formidable insects. 
You can spot a fully mature boxelder by their winged black and reddish-orange bodies. The younglings of the group don’t have as much black on them, nor do they have their wings yet. 
Boxelder bugs are natives of North America and can be found within a 100-mile radius of their home boxelder trees—their namesake—where they lay their eggs and feast on the tree’s seeds. Clearly, these little determined bugs can show up just about anywhere. 

6 natural ways to get rid of boxelder bugs 

Boxelder bugs are, for the most part, quite harmless. Before reaching for the industrial bug killers, try these natural solutions.

1. Soap solution 

Instead of a bug spray, opt for a soap spray. Make a quick and easy solution by adding about one tablespoon of mild dish soap to a spray bottle full of water. 
The soap is the weapon here because it deteriorates the bugs’ outer shell, leaving them to dehydrate…and consequently die. 
You can spray the solution straight on the bugs or try to knock them over into a bowl or bucket containing the soap solution. 

2. Vacuum clean 

If you spy a lone boxelder or find a swarm hiding in the cracks of your home, don’t move to squish or smash them. They have foul-smelling, orange innards that can stain the surface you squish them on. 
Instead of putting yourself and your walls’ paint through that ordeal, grab your vacuum and suck them up. Just be sure to empty the vacuum immediately into a sealed-up bag or drop them outside. 

3. Seal the cracks 

One of the best ways to get rid of boxelder bugs in your home is to make sure they don’t have a way in in the first place. 
Install weather stripping on all exterior doors and windows in your home, making sure there are no rips in your screens, and check for and seal any other potential points of entry

4. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth 

These fossilized microalgae remains are toxic to bugs and non-toxic to humans and pets. Meaning they’re the best-case scenario for trying to banish a bug without harming other residents of your home. 
Sprinkle it around your doors and windows, and remember to reapply if it rains. 

5. Employ bug traps 

Grab some glue or light traps and place them around the hard-to-reach crevices of your home. The boxelder bugs will be lured in and trapped there. 
But be sure to empty them promptly so you’re not left with a horrible odor emanating from the trap. 

6. Replace or remove boxelder trees

Boxelder bugs are named for their home turf of seed-bearing boxelder trees, a maple tree variety native to North America. This is where they feed and lay their eggs, and removing the trees may help your cause. 
This may not help all that much since boxelder bugs can travel a long way from their home tree
You should also consider the value of the tree versus the nuisance of the bugs. If you do decide to remove your boxelder tree, consider replacing it with a non-seed-bearing boxelder or a different kind of tree. (The world can always use more trees!) 
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Opt-out of insecticide use

Some of you may be thinking of grabbing a can of Raid as soon as you see any kind of bug. However, that’s not a great idea when it comes to boxelder bugs and should be treated as a last resort measure.
While some insecticides can be effective in getting rid of boxelder bugs, these bugs have adapted and developed resistance to many common insecticides on the market.  
It’s also important to consider how insecticides won’t discriminate between boxelder bugs and other, more vital insects like our pollinators. Insecticides are also toxic and harmful to humans, pets, and the environment. 
If you do use insecticides as a last resort, make sure you keep your small children and animals away from the affected area

Finding the right homeowners insurance 

Although your homeowners insurance probably won’t cover a boxelder bug invasion, you’ll still want to keep your policy up to date with your current needs.
can help you with that. 
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You can get rid of boxelder bugs by vacuuming them up and disposing of them in a sealed bag or outside, spraying them with a mild dish soap and water solution, sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your home’s entry points, laying glue or light traps, ensuring your windows and doors are properly sealed, or replacing your seed-bearing boxelder trees.
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