Box Elder Bugs

Asked March 19, 2018, 2:18 PM EDT

Hello, we are having quite an issue with box elders bugs and I'd like to try to tackle the issues without using harsh chemicals from a pest control company. Last year I tried blasting them with dishsoap water and it killed some, but didn't make a dent. They seem to be living on the under-side of our aluminum siding. Usually we only see them in the spring and summer, but this past winter they were still coming inside, which makes me think that they survived well over the winter and will be worse this year. Any advice??

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

Although box elder bug populations vary from one season to another, the calendar of their presence in our homes is predictable. The major invasion usually occurs in early October. After the bugs find winter quarters under the siding or indoors they disappear until warm days in late winter or early spring rouse them. Whether their 2018-19 numbers will be greater or fewer than 2017-18 remains to be seen.

Spraying the bugs with dish soap when they gather on outdoor walls in autumn does reduce their numbers but several dousings are often needed to make a difference.

Removing box elder trees and other host plants can also help but such plants are very common and the bugs fly a considerable distance from them to find winter shelter.

Generally speaking, the best, and often only real remedy is to seal every crack or
crevice that allows the bugs to get indoors.

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