Box elder bugs and houseplants

Asked January 9, 2016, 3:08 PM EST

I've seen a few of these bugs in my office kitchen around a sunny window where we have many houseplants. Web research tells me they won't breed indoors (although one site said that if they do lay eggs , the eggs will not survive), and that unless they multiply beyond the low numbers we see now, we shouldn't worry. Some of my co-workers think we should get rid of all the plants (some are 10 years old and all are healthy and well cared for) in order to prevent them spreading through the building and getting onto other plants. Can you tell me your opinion on the situation? Thanks very much for your help.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Box elder bugs are a nuisance insect. In early fall these insects will attempt to enter your structure for protection. Prevention includes caulking , weather strip and sealing up all cracks and entry points around foundations, 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. In your case, simply sweep the bugs into a container of soapy water. They will not kill your plants. The bugs are simply hanging out. They are not breeding indoors. See our publication