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Boxelder Bug Season: What You Need to Know

One afternoon when I was watching my sons play in the backyard, I sat there, a little too relaxed, and was startled by a scream coming from the side of the house. My oldest son had discovered his very first Boxelder bug. In fact, they must have sensed his love for them because the entire window was filled with the creepy crawlers! My son frantically asked me all about these bugs, why they were there, and how to get them away from our house.

Persons legs sticking out of car window

These pests typically come out during the spring, and when they do, they can quickly become a nuisance around the home. We put together 5 natural tips to help keep these pesky Boxelder bugs away from your house. 

How Do Boxelder Bugs Get Into Your Home? 

Windows and doors make for easy access into your home. These are the most common places that you will see Boxelder bugs, as they come in through these areas looking for cover from outside elements.

Windows are a great place to relax. Think about it—they’re warm, they are off the ground, and they house little cracks and crevices to hide out when danger approaches.

Window sills, door jams and frames provide for a nice hibernation spot along with any other room that may have a warmer temperature including sunrooms, porches, pool houses, and hot tub rooms. Even in the middle of winter, Boxelder bugs may come out of hiding to bask in the warm sun and look for food before returning to hibernation.

You may start to notice these pests in the fall as it starts to get colder outside. They begin to seek shelter and warmth. However, Boxelder bug season is in the spring, this is when homeowners will start to see more of these pests as their eggs start to hatch. Their lifespan is approximately one year.

A bunch of boxelder bugs in one spot

Are They Dangerous?

Other than these bugs being a flying nuisance, they are a very non-destructive bug. Unlike other common pests, Boxelder bugs don’t transmit diseases or have a poisonous bite. They are similar to stink bugs in that they release an unpleasant odor when smashed, so for this reason along with others, we would recommend against that. With hundreds or sometimes thousands looking for a place to call home, their urine and feces can accumulate and stain the windows and trim where they spend most of their time.

Although these little black and red pests aren’t going to cause your family any harm, homeowners likely don’t want to deal with cleaning up piles of dead Boxelder bugs and the accumulation of their excrement. There are multiple ways to rid your home of Boxelder bugs —and it doesn’t include freezing the little buggers out, at your family’s displeasure.
Here are different methods to try:

  • Use a vinegar water mixture
  • Use a dish soap and water mixture
  • Use tea tree or another strong scented essential oil 
  • Vacuum, clean, and de-clutter your home 
  • Clean up the landscaping around your home
  • Seal entryways into your home

6 Ways to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs for Good  

There are ways to help keep these bugs out of your home without the use of harmful chemicals or pesticides. We put together five tips below to help homeowners keep boxelder bugs away. 

1. Vinegar

A mix made with one part white vinegar and one part water can help you get rid of your bug infestation. The vinegar will destroy any scent trails left by the insects, help clean the area of any urine, and deter future pests from gathering because of the strong smell.  

2. Dish Soap

Similar to vinegar, a soapy water mix can be made with one part dish soap and one part water to get rid of your Boxelder bug infestation. One key difference is that the spray may kill the pests. However, it doesn’t have to be used this way. You can use the dish soap as a deterrent and cleaner after removing the unwanted pests from the area using a different method. 

3. Essential Oils

Strong scents may deter these pests from entering your home in the first place. There are a number of essential oils that work well to deter unwanted bugs from entering your home and they include: 

  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Peppermint 
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass

For each one of these oils you can mix 10 drops of oil per cup of water in a spray bottle to use around your house. Spraying essential oils around the windows and other areas of your house will also leave a pleasant smell. Research oils prior to using to make sure you are aware of any associated risks.  

4. Vacuum & Clean

If the bugs are already inside of your home, make sure you start decluttering and eliminating any place where these pests can hide. Get rid of unwanted junk and clean everywhere, including dark areas that are rarely touched. If you find a swarm of bugs somewhere, then use your vacuum cleaner to suck them up and bring them outside to quickly release them. 

5. Tidy Up the Landscape Around Your Home

Clean up your yard and the exterior of your home. Boxelder bugs enjoy logs, leaves, trees, bushes and anything else they can use to hide from uncomfortable weather and predators. Simple landscaping tasks like picking up leaves, covering up your logs and trimming your Boxelder trees is a great place to start.  

6. Seal Entryways

Go around the perimeter of your home and start inspecting your window screens, door sweeps, dryer vents and window sills to look for any potential entry points. Seal cracks and any crevices you find with caulk and consider a dryer vent cover. These pests are looking for a warm area to call home so no space is off limits.

Prevention is Key

As you are planning annual spring cleaning and home maintenance, pick up a pack of Stay Away®. This scent-based product works by emitting the fresh scent of botanical oils, nature’s own pest repellents. With no setup or messy cleanup, this product is a dream for those looking for DIY pest control tips.

Stay Away® deters pests back outside and prevents them from returning. Place the pouches by the entrances of windows and doors that the bugs are using to make their way inside. By doing this, you are essentially making an invisible wall that they don’t want to cross — and your windows will no longer be the place to relax and sunbathe. Box Elder bugs start to come out of hibernation around springtime — as soon as the temperature becomes warmer, so make sure your doors and windows are protected.

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