Boxwood Elders

Asked February 1, 2019, 11:50 AM EST

How can we get rid of boxwood elders? During the late Fall and Winter months they enter our home. They’re a nuisance and sometimes leave poop. We have a maple tree near our house. My wife wants me to cut it down as she thinks the tree attracts the boxwood elders

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for using Ask an Expert for help with your insect issue. I believe the critter pestering you is the boxelder bug.

Boxelder trees are a type of maple, perhaps the one near your home. However, they also are attracted to the ash trees and other maples commonly planted in the area. In addition, they can fly several miles to find an overwintering spot, so cutting down the nearest maple would probably not reduce their numbers.

They spend the cold months in homes, sheds, and garages, but do not damage the structures or attack people and pets. In spring, they congregate on the warm sides of buildings, then disperse to trees. During the summer, sealing up windows and attic vents, repairing screening, and caulking trim will help keep them from returning in fall. They can also be vacuumed up, when found in large numbers on the side of the house.

For more information on the insect and for other control suggestions, see the OregonS tate University Insect handbook, here: and the National Pesticide Information Center, here: