Box Elder Bug

Asked October 5, 2015, 12:44 PM EDT

Our box elder, which stands close by our house, has dropped a lot of sap this year. Now we have an infestation of box elder bugs. We are spraying the sides and roof of our house to control them, although not all that successfully. How long can we expect these bugs to stay and feed off the tree? Could we call a tree company to have them spray the tree itself? Thank you for whatever advice and information you can offer us.

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

Box elder bugs are a nuisance insect. In early fall these insects will attempt to enter your home for protection. Prevention includes caulking , weather strip and sealing up all cracks and entry points around your house foundation, vent openings, windows and doorways to prevent these critters from coming indoors. We do not recommend insecticides indoors. You can use a shop vac indoors and drown in soapy water or vacuum up the bugs and dispose of the bag. Outdoors the insects can be knocked down with a forceful spray of soapy water. If plants are nearby you may want to use insecticidal soap. The most efficient control can be obtained in October when the population is concentrated on the trunks of boxelder trees near the ground. For more information see our Box Elder publication

Thank you for this information. It is good to know that these insects do not reproduce inside the house and to spray at the base of the tree.