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How to get rid of boxelder bugs?

boxelder bugs

Key Takeaways

  • Boxelder bugs seek warm shelter indoors during winter, becoming a nuisance when they congregate in homes.
  • They feed on boxelder, cherry, plum, maple, and other trees, causing damage to plants and crops.
  • Signs of infestation include the appearance of large clusters of boxelder bugs, especially during spring and summer.
  • Prevention methods such as sealing cracks and gaps in doors and windows can help keep boxelder bugs out of homes.
  • Provincial Pest Control (PPC) offers professional pest control services in Canada, specializing in eliminating boxelder bug infestations.


Boxelder bugs are outdoor pests, but they can infest your home because they search for warm spaces and shelter during winter. Boxelder infestation becomes a problem when they congregate inside your house, at your storage or garages. They also constitute a nuisance outside as they feed on boxelder, cherry, plum, maple, and other vine trees.

You’ll notice the infestation during spring or warm summer as the bugs try to make their way outside their overwintering shelter. Even though these bugs don’t bite, the sight of the congregation of boxelder bugs is irritable and can be disturbing.

If you experiencing boxelder infestation in your home or outside? In this article, you will learn how to identify boxelder bugs, the nature of damage caused by boxelder bugs, and signs of boxelder infestation. You’ll also learn the best ways to get rid of boxelder bugs both in your house and outside.

What boxelder bugs look like?

Boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittatus) are flat, black, and oval-shaped insects marked with three orange or reddish stripes on their back. A boxelder bug has two antennae, six legs, and measures about half an inch. Boxelder bug nymphs have no wings.

Eggs laid by adult boxelder bug is straw yellow and oval. These eggs take the tree’s color and later develop into boxelder nymphs. The nymphs are red and gradually turn black as they go through the five stages of development.

They have piercing and sucking mouthparts typical of insects in the family Rhopalidae. Other insects in the family include the stink bugs, cicadas, etc. When you crush a boxelder bug, you will usually get a strong bad odor.

Additionally, a boxelder lifecycle begins in spring through the summer. You may not see many of them during winter, but box elder bug infestation becomes a serious problem during the hot season like dry summer or warm spring.

Damages caused by boxelder infestation

Boxelder infestation happens when there are many boxelder bugs in house. This insect constitutes a big nuisance by invading your space in large groups forming an irritable cluster.

Even though boxelder bugs don’t bite, they use their piercing-sucking mouthpart to puncture your skin, causing it to be red. Asides from this, the bugs produce an unpleasant smell when crushed or disturbed. When the boxelder bugs stay long in a space, you will notice a reddish-orange discoloration on home material, furniture, walls, and fabrics.

Boxelder bugs outside suck plant saps and penetrate the plant tissues causing damage to the plant. They largely feed on maple trees and vines like grape, peach, cherry, almond, apple, plum, and boxelder trees.

Boxelder infestation outside causes the leaves of the trees to turn yellow and the stem spotty. The cluster of boxelder causes damage to the crops by feeding on the flowers, seedpods, leaves, and tender twigs of host trees. Here you can Identifying common crawling insects at home

Signs of boxelder bug infestation

The boxelder bugs live and breed outside during spring and summer, feeding on their host trees like maples, ash, or boxelder trees. They congregate under bark cracks, around natural debris, or under leaves.

They make their way into homes through small cracks, doors, eaves, windows, crevices in foundations, and any other available space during the cool weather. During fall and winter, boxelder bugs do not reproduce; they will hide indoors.

Once the weather becomes warm during spring, they come out en masses trying to make their way out and constitute a nuisance to homeowners. The evidence of boxelder infestation is in the overwhelming number that they appear to catch homeowners off guard.

Read more on how to get rid of boxelder bugs permanently and how to get rid of maple bugs outside.

How to keep boxelder bugs out of your house and outside?

Prevention ahead of infestation is the best way to get rid of boxelder bugs. During fall and spring, ensure that you check your house and seal all open cracks and gaps to reduce the chances of infestation. Pest proofing will help to minimize boxelder infestation. To get rid of boxelder bugs at home, you can do the following:

  • Seal up holes and cracks in the window and doors in your house. You are a step away from getting rid of boxelder bugs when you stop them from coming inside by sealing the holes. You can seal all the openings with silicone-latex caulk, steel wools, or fine mesh. You can also install door sweeps to all doors leading outside directly to get rid of boxelder bugs.
  • Use vacuum instead of crushing the boxelder bugs. Crushing the bugs will leave stains on your curtains, fabrics, and walls, and you will be left to deal with the irritating and unpleasant smell.
  • Avoid pesticides or insecticides because boxelder bugs usually develop resistance to common insecticides. Using chemical also pose a great risk to the environment.
  • If you have the boxelder trees around you, you can cut the seed-bearing tree and replace it with another species that is less attractive to the boxelder bugs.
  • Boxelder bugs congregate and cluster under debris, so ensure you clean up your place to reduce the congregation of boxelder bugs.

Lastly, if you notice boxelder bug infestation, you can contact Provincial Pest Control (PPC). We have experts that know how to keep boxelder bugs away and other residential pests. We understand the nature, lifecycle, and mode of operation of the boxelder bugs, and we have environmentally safe methods to help you get rid of these bugs.

Boxelder Exterminator Near Me (Canada)

If you are in Canada and battling boxelder infestation, the recurrent question on your mind would be, “how do I get rid of boxelder bugs?” Contacting Provincial Pest Control (PPC) is the solution.

We have a reliable and responsive service to help you solve all your residential and commercial pest problems. Our experts have a deep understanding of how to get rid of boxelder bugs outside naturally and how to get rid of maple bugs. At Provincial Pest Control (PPC), your safety and hygiene are our priority.

Ours is a one-off pest control treatment for commercial and residential houses in Ottawa, Vaughan, Toronto, and Ontario. You call us for a free pest inspection on how to get rid of boxelder bugs outside, how to get rid of maple bugs, and for more than 30 pests in general. Make your request at here.




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