Boxelder bug control in and around home

Asked March 28, 2013, 2:36 PM EDT

I've unsuccessfully tried sealing cracks and crevasses, spraying insecticides and using the vaccum to control Boxelder bugs in and around our home on the shores of Bear Lake.

They seem to be everywhere and in large numbers, especially during cool weather and during winters.

How can I kill and be rid of these tenacious pests?


Salt Lake County Utah urban integrated pest management box elder bugs household insect

1 Response

I'm assuming from this address that you are a resident of Utah. I would be very cautious that you have correctly identified your pest. There are three species of what entomologists call "red-shouldered" bugs - the true boxelder bug, the western boxelder bug and the goldenrain tree bug. The goldenrain tree bug has been showing up much more commonly in western states where goldenrain trees are used.

If you are really dealing with boxelder bugs, we now now that they can build up populations on maples and ash trees where they also feed on the flowers and developing seed. So, elimination of nearby boxelders does not always work to reduce these bugs.

If the insects are still getting inside your home after sealing the normal cracks and crevices around windows and doors, they are likely entering the structure through the roof vents. These can be located on the soffits and roof peaks. The ones on the soffits often have nylon screening when installed and this often crumbles apart after several years of weather exposure. These should be pulled off and the screening replaced with actual wire screen. Roof peak vents can be filled with plastic mesh which will prohibit insect invasion yet allow for air transport.

For the exterior of the house, there are several "creeping and crawling" insect control products. The two most effective products are ones that contain bifenthrin or cypermethrin. Some of these can be obtained at a local hardware/garden store and others can be obtained over the internet. These should be applied when the bugs are first noticed clustering on the side of a structure. Reapplications may be needed every 14 to 28 days.