For many lucky homeowners, they might never have to know what a boxelder bug looks like. However, for everyone else, when the weather starts to cool down, they know it is time to get ready for an invasion. While boxelder bugs aren’t dangerous, they are a serious nuisance and are difficult to remove once inside the home.

Identifying Boxelder Bugs

A number of homeowners have a boxelder invasion in their yard and don’t even realize it. These pests tend to swarm trees, walls, and gardens that get ample amount of direct sunlight. If you have boxelder trees in your yard, the bugs will be an even larger problem as the seed pods of the tree are a favorite food source for the bugs. Adult boxelder bugs are brown with red stripes and their almond-shaped bodies are about a half-inch long. The bugs enjoy living in boxelder, maple, and fruit trees during the summer, but when the temperatures fall, they attempt to winter in your home.

While the bugs have a mouthpiece that can break human skin, (typically used to break fruit skin) boxelder bugs rarely choose to bite humans. The biggest problem that boxelder bugs can cause is the cloying smell produced when the bugs are crushed. Living bugs are also responsible for staining carpets, drapes, and clothing with their excrement.

Ways to Remove Boxelder Bugs

While boxelder bugs won’t exactly carry your children off into the woods never to be seen again, they are still annoying pests and certainly not something anyone wants in their home. While an exterminator is the most efficient way of removing boxelder bugs, for less serious infestations, there are a few quick methods to try before calling in the professionals.

  • The easiest way to remove boxelder bugs is to break out that vacuum cleaner. Sucking up the bugs is the quickest way to get as many as possible and allows you to humanely return them outside if desired. However, if the boxelder bugs have already moved inside your walls, this method will no longer be enough.
  • After vacuuming up the bugs, a homeowner’s mission then becomes preventing them from coming back in. This essentially means checking the doors and windows for holes in the screens, deterioration in the weather stripping or door sweeps, gaps in the window caulking, and holes in the exterior walls of your home.
  • If boxelder bugs have gotten inside your walls, you can resort to bug bombs or pesticides, but only a professional exterminator can make sure these elusive insects are gone for sure.
  • If you have sealed your home up, but the infestation in your yard has still managed to make it inside your home, homeowners may need to take the battle to the bugs. If at all possible, the first course of action should be to remove any boxelder trees in the yard. Boxelder trees and apple trees are the bug’s favorite food source, attracting them in mass. However, tree removal is not always possible or practical. Instead, homeowners may want to consider only entering the house through a shaded door. Boxelder bugs love sunny doorways, making it easy to slip inside when you do. However, as it gets colder, fewer bugs will be lurking by shaded doorways.

While it might seem simple to handle a boxelder bug infestation on your own, homeowners need to carefully consider whether or not they should attempt to remove the pests themselves or hire a professional. Some home treatments may eliminate one pest, but end up inviting another invasion like carpet beetles that feed on boxelder bugs. For those with a serious boxelder bug problem in the Des Moines area, contact Miller Pest & Termite to see what we can do to help you remove the problem once and for all.