How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs

Box Elder Bugs


Box elder bugs, also known as box elder beetles, can be of a nuisance for a homeowner, especially during the fall and spring time. You can pretty much find them anywhere in the United States. Moreover, Box elder bugs usually come together when there is a female box elder tree present. While these pests can devour a variety of plants, they prefer the seed pod from a female box elder. Box elder bugs are highly attracted to these seed pods. Therefore, the most effective way to get rid of box elder bugs is to remove any female box elder trees in the premise. Box elder bugs are not as pestering as mosquitoes, house flies or ants. The worst that can be announced regarding box elder bugs is that they can stain light colored surfaces (clothing, drapes, etc.) with their fecal matter. In addition, if you choose to step on one, it will release a horrid smell. Now, that might not seem as bad compared to other insect pests, however if you were a homeowner with your yard covered with these bugs you will empathize. If you grow fruits in your yard, well, I have bad news for you (if you do have a box elder bug infestation on your hands). There has been evidence of fruit deformities cause by the bite of a box elder bug.


First you should try to classify nearby trees and find out whether or not they are female box elders. In almost every case, the removal of this tree can simplify the elimination of these bugs. Second, search for possible openings outside of your home. Box elder bugs seek warmth, so during cold nights they would find themselves making their way into your home through very small cracks and crevices. Finding these tiny inserts and sealing them will definitely help in preventing further infestations.


When box elder bugs get indoors there is only one true way to kick them back out and that is to use a vacuum. It is suggested to use a strong vacuum with an inner seal. Remember, box elder bugs release a horrid smell, so do not smash them. Your goal is to get rid of them as fast as you can for they will release an odor to attract more of their friends. Besides vacuuming, you could also set up traps. Traps are very useful when you encounter hard to reach places such as basements, ceilings and crawlspaces. A glue boards are the ideal traps when dealing with box elder bugs.


To help get rid of your box elder bug problem, fast acting pyrethroids are recommended. FenvaStar, which yields 20 gallons of finished products, is suggested for larger infestations. Demon WP Envelope, which yields 2 gallons of finished product, is ideal for smaller size infestations. When applying these insecticides you want to focus on these key areas:

FenvaStar EcoCap DEMON WP pyganic
FenvaStar Demon WP PyGanic Dust

These products can be used with this item:

Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer

These products can be used with these items:

Bellow Bulb Duster

When applying these insecticides you want to focus on these key areas:

  1. Attic Vents
  2. Windows
  3. Doors
  4. Soffits
  5. Utility Service Openings

Besides the listed areas above, you should also consider any other possible entry points where box elder bugs could make their way indoors.

Crack and Crevice/Void Treatment:

You can use liquid sprays (LambdaStar 9.7% CSFenvaStar EcoCap ), dust ( DELTA DUST), or aerosol forms ( CY-KICK AEROSOL).  When applying a liquid insecticide, we suggest using a hand gallon sprayer . During the application, you must use the exact amount instructed on the product label provided. Spray into the cracks and crevices for long lasting effect. In addition, you will have to spray around door frames, window frames and sills, visible cracks on wall moldings, walls and cabinets. Void treatments are suggested when areas are hard to reach. In this case, you will need to make an access point. For example, you could drill a whole into the wall near the infested area or just remove an electric outlet covering close by. Afterwards, you can then apply the liquid spray onto the empty spaces in the walls. Be careful around the electric objects because you are using a liquid. When using a dust insecticide, it is recommended to use a duster (BELLOW BULB DUSTER) to ensure the right amount is applied. Use the amount instructed on the product label. When using the duster, be sure to just fill the duster halfway and DO NOT OVER DUST. In addition, do not apply dust insecticides where children or pets may come to close proximity. Also, do not directly into the hole, but rather around the void because there is a good chance that the dust might blow out. When using aerosol forms ( CY-KICK AEROSOL) be sure to use to suggested amount along with the straw attachment when directly applying into crack and crevices.

Barrier Treatment:

A barrier treatment, also known as a perimeter treatment, is used when wanting to make a barricade around your home to further prevent box elder bugs from getting in. Usually, this certain treatment comprises of applying only liquid insecticides (LambdaStar 9.7% CSFenvaStar EcoCap ). Treatment focuses on soil areas around your home and also the outside walls. Directly apply, using the hand gallon sprayer, the liquid insecticide on the walls (up to 2 feet high) and the ground (up to 3 feet away from the structure).

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Date: Tuesday, 12. January 2010 1:43
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  1. 1

    We have box elder bugs everywhere around our home. Is there a natural remidie to use that will not hurt our dogs. I was told to use Dawn dish soap with water and spay it around our house. I did try it last year but we had no luck. Thoes bothersome bettles just keep comming back. Can you help?

  2. 2

    We do apologize but we carry pesticides. There are natural pesticides but as of right now, none of the “natural” products we carry have box-elder bugs on the product label as a target pest. Therefore, we do not carry any that we can recommend to you.

  3. 3

    I use Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap mixed with water
    in a Super Shooter kid’s toy. I spray groups of box elders
    and they drop dead almost immediately.
    The soap leaves a residue, but after a good rain, all the soap is gone!!

  4. 4

    I’ve been battling Box elder bugs for years. We had several box elder trees just filled with them. They would gather on the south side of the house and our out-building garage. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, so many it seemed unbelievable. Regular dish soap works amazingly well at killing them instantly. I use a garden feeder sprayer filled with straight dish soap attached to the hose.
    Wherever they congregate, I’m out soap spraying them and they die (or seem paralyzed) instantly.

    Between cutting down the nearby box elder trees, and generally clearing any type of greens for them to eat nearby the south facing sides of the house and then soaping the heck out of the surfaces, the number of them has dwindled each year. The problem is; they still remain even in the house over the winter (the house has a crawl space where they hide.) My Rottweiler is trained to eat them on sight; this keeps down on the handful per day that we see.

    On the other hand, even after years of this treatment, they persist. I must conclude that based on ever expanding populations of both box elders and humans that people in the future will be eating these little [censor].

  5. 5

    What is a safe remedy for indoors that wont harm humans or my dog?

  6. 6

    Hi Michelle,
    We recommend a short residual aerosol spray for indoor use. Cy-Kick is a recommended product for box elder bugs. All treated areas must be left alone until the treatment has completely dried. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  7. 7

    How can I identify a boxeldor tree?

  8. 8

    Hi Asheta,
    You can look up images on the internet and compare. We do not have much information on the tree itself. I apologize that I was not able to better assist you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  9. 9

    I am infested with boxelders they in the grass along side of my house and inside is there any thing that i can use on the outside that will stick on what i spray and will not wash off after a rain

  10. 10

    Hi Larry,
    Residual concentrate insecticides like Talstar Pro, Suspend SC, and Fenvastar EcoCap are all insecticides that will kill boxelder bugs and will not immediately break down with outdoor elements like rain water and sunlight. These insecticides must be diluted in water and applied with a pump sprayer. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  11. 11

    Hi where I live theirs a lot of these boxelders and I don’t know what to do..I have two kids and im afraid that they might crawl into the ears or nose.How could I get rid of these weird insects which I have never heard or seen before? Are they sold at menards

  12. 12

    Hi Letty Ayala,

    Do not worry, they will not crawl into ears and nose. Also, we do not know what Menards is so we are unable to answer that question, however, we do sell pest control supplies that will help you control boxelder bugs. We recommend Talstar Pro or Suspend SC, which is a concentrate insecticide that must be diluted with water before application. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  13. 13

    Will this product Talstar Pro or Suspend SC damage Vinyl Siding if it is applied directly to siding after dilution? Do the insect live in the ground? if so what can you treat the ground with to kill them where they live or their young lives.

  14. 14

    Boxelder bugs usually nest in boxelder, ash, or maple trees during the warmer months. During the colder months, they usually attempt to forage indoors to overwinter. We recommend applying either the Talstar or Suspend along the vinyl sidings, window, and door frames. They are likely to be attracted to the sides of the home where the sun hits because of the warmth.

  15. 15

    I have never seen Boxelder bugs until about two years ago. No one I asked had ever seen them either. Now they are everywhere. I have killed them off and on all throughout the winter months this year. (inside my house) Now that spring is just around the corner they are starting to increase in numbers. I have killed four of them this evening. They seem to like to go to the light in the room. Either around the ceiling light or the table lamp, if that is the only light on. I am going to try the dish soap or laundry soap method around the perimeter of the house first, to see if it helps. But I believe they may be getting in through the attic vent or maybe nesting in the crawlspace.

  16. 16

    It’s common to see overwintering pests forage out when the temperature outdoors begin to warm up. Using soap and water may kill them on contact but it will not have a long residual time for long term control. I would recommend a product like Talstar Pro for application around the home. Talstar can be used both indoors and outdoors.

  17. 17

    What is the concentration of the peppermint soap & water?

  18. 18

    Most people recommend 1-2 tbsp to 4 cups of water.

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