Information about Boxelder Bugs including basic biology points and habits of the insect as well as how to rid homes of these pests both indoors and on the exterior surfaces of homes. There is also a section which suggests products for boxelder bug elimination.
Boxelder bugs do not bite, but their piercing-sucking mouthparts can sometimes puncture skin, causing slight irritation. Their droppings make a quite a mess and these pests can accumulate in great numbers in your home if left unchecked. Warm temperatures (found in buildings such as your home) interfere with their natural cycles and biology, causing them to reproduce year-round in unwanted areas -- your home! The boxelder bug is a common pest over much of the United States. Adults are about 1/2 inch long, bright red or black in color with narrow reddish lines on their back. These insects pests feed principally by sucking juices from the boxelder tree, but are sometimes found on many other plants. In most cases, boxelder bugs cause no major damage inside homes, but their droppings stain curtains and other resting sites. This bug also emits a foul odor when crushed. Adult boxelder bugs will enter homes in the Fall, seeking winter shelter. They will overwinter in protected areas, often in wall voids or in attics. They will then emerge in the spring to seek out host trees on which to feed and lay eggs.
For larger infestations, use your vacuum cleaner to help eliminate the boxelders you see inside your home. This will be a great tool to use along with pesticide applications, but not a total substitution. A good residual spray that is labeled for both inside homes, exterior of homes, trees and shrubs is Tempo WP. Spray Tempo WP (using a garden sprayer such as our Chapin Sprayer) along baseboards or other areas where Boxelders are seen. The most important aspect of indoor elimination and prevention of Boxelder bugs is dusting cracks and crevices where these pest like to spend the winter. The best (and one of the lowest in toxicity) insecticide dust to use is Delta Dust. This odorless product is easily applied to cracks, crevices and voids using the Crusader Duster. Use Delta Dust as often as you like, both as a preventative and curative control method for insect pests. Delta Dust will not only kill boxelder bugs and other insects, it makes any treated area unappealing to future infestations of insect pests.
To eliminate outdoor Boxelders, treat the structure and vegetation (trees, shrubs) close to the structure. The outdoor elimination of Boxelders is your best prevention against indoor infestations, so begin treatment early. Using a good pump up garden sprayer (see our Chapin Sprayer,) mix and apply Tempo WP to the sides of your home and to trees where boxelders are seen congregating or where you have had problems in the past. Tempo WP has excellent quick knockdown properties as well as long term residual control against a variety of pests that enter homes. This odorless insecticide has a broad label which allows you to treat a wide variety of pests, without causing injury to most plants.
When treating the exterior portion of your home, spray as high as possible. You should also spray into any crack, crevice or possible entry point/hiding place where the boxelder bugs might enter. In areas of the country where Boxelder bugs are a normal occurrence, apply a preventative spray in the late summer to keep the bugs out of your home.
The following products are the best for eliminating and preventing Boxelder bug infestations.