Do Boxelder Bugs Cause Damage to My Property?

Boxelder bugs are common insect pests that can wreak havoc on your property. While they’re relatively harmless to humans and pets, their presence can lead to various issues that can disrupt the peace and aesthetics of your home. So, what can you do to combat a full-blown boxelder infestation? Here are three key points to help guide you:

  • Boxelder bugs do not cause structural damage to buildings or homes as they do not chew on wood or other structural materials.
  • The presence of boxelder bugs can be a nuisance, particularly during the fall, and they may leave stains on surfaces due to their excrement.
  • While boxelder bugs can feed on certain trees and plants, they rarely cause significant harm to the overall health or survival of the plants.

What Are Boxelder Bugs?

Boxelder bugs, scientifically known as Boisea trivittata, are small insects belonging to the true bug family. They are commonly found in North America and are named after the boxelder tree, which is one of their preferred habitats. Boxelder bugs are a common pest problem that homeowners may encounter during the late summer and fall months, or even through the winter.

These bugs are easily recognizable due to their distinctive appearance. Adult boxelder bugs typically measure about half an inch in length and have a black or dark brown body with red or orange markings. Their wings form an elongated X-shape when at rest.

Boxelder bugs are primarily nuisance pests, as they do not cause significant harm to humans or pets, nor do they transmit diseases. However, their large numbers and tendency to gather in and around homes can become bothersome to homeowners.

How Can Boxelders Damage My Home?

Despite their relatively harmless nature, boxelder bugs can cause various issues that homeowners should be aware of in order to mitigate any potential damage. Understanding how boxelder bugs can affect your home is crucial for taking preventive measures and minimizing any potential negative impacts on your property. 

Here are a few ways boxelder bugs can cause damage to your space:

Structural Damage

Boxelder bugs are attracted to warmth and sunlight, which often leads them to congregate on the sunny sides of buildings and houses. When these red and black bugs invade your property in large numbers, they can seep into small cracks and crevices, infiltrating your home’s interior. 

Although boxelder bugs don’t chew through wood, like termites or carpenter ants, their entry points into your home can serve as potential access routes for other pests. This can potentially result in structural damage over time, particularly if the bugs find their way into wall voids, attics, or crawl spaces.

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Staining and Odors 

One of the most noticeable effects of a boxelder bug infestation is the staining they leave behind. These insects release a pungent, reddish-orange liquid when they feel threatened or crushed. If boxelder bugs are squashed or disturbed, they can stain walls, curtains, furniture, and other surfaces, leaving unsightly marks that can be challenging to remove. Additionally, the odor emitted by this defensive liquid can be unpleasant and linger for some time.

Garden and Plant Damage

Boxelder bugs are not only attracted to buildings but also to boxelder, maple, and ash trees, where they feed on the leaves, flowers, and seeds. While they may not cause significant harm to the trees themselves, an abundance of boxelder bugs can defoliate the plants and create a nuisance in your garden. This can impact the overall health and aesthetics of your landscaping.

Agricultural Concerns 

Beyond residential properties, boxelder bugs can also pose a threat to agricultural areas. They can infest crops such as apples, grapes, plums, and cherries, causing damage to the fruits and affecting the overall yield. These red and black bugs can be particularly problematic for farmers and orchard owners, as they multiply rapidly and can be challenging to control once established.

Managing Boxelder Bug Infestations

While it may be difficult to get rid of boxelder bugs from your property completely, there are several strategies you can employ to minimize their impact:

1. Sealing Entry Points 

To effectively manage a boxelder bug infestation, it’s essential to seal up any cracks or entry points in your home. These pests can enter through small openings in doors, windows, foundation gaps, or damaged screens. By identifying and sealing these potential entry points, you can significantly reduce their access to your living spaces. 

Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal gaps around windows and doors, ensuring a tight seal. Repair or replace damaged screens, and inspect the foundation for any cracks or gaps that need sealing. Pay attention to utility penetrations, such as pipes and wires, and seal them properly. 

2. Vacuuming

Vacuuming plays a crucial role in managing a boxelder bug infestation within your home. These insects are often found gathering in large numbers, especially in warm indoor areas. By regularly vacuuming affected areas, you can remove boxelder bugs, their shed exoskeletons, and their droppings. 

Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction and a hose attachment to reach into crevices and corners where they may be hiding. Empty the vacuum bag or canister promptly and dispose of the contents in an outdoor trash bin to prevent the bugs from re-entering your home. Regular vacuuming not only helps reduce the overall population of boxelder bugs but also eliminates their potential stains and keeps your living spaces clean and hygienic.

3. Tree Maintenance

Tree maintenance plays an important role in managing boxelder bug infestations. Boxelder bugs are often associated with boxelder trees, as they serve as a preferred habitat for these pests. Regular tree maintenance can help reduce their population and discourage their presence around your property. 

Start by pruning and trimming trees, especially those located near your house, to minimize the availability of shelter and food sources for the bugs. Be sure to remove deadwood and debris from trees to reduce potential hiding spots. You may also want to consider removing any female boxelder trees from your property, as they produce seeds that attract boxelder bugs. 

4. Outdoor Control

You can also use insecticides or contact pest control professionals to treat the exterior of your house. Treating potential hiding places, such as the sunny sides of buildings and trees, can help deter boxelder bugs from congregating.

Spraying for boxelder bugs around the perimeter of your home can create a barrier that repels or kills the bugs before they reach your living spaces. Pay special attention to areas where boxelder bugs tend to gather, such as windows, doors, and foundation gaps. Treat these areas thoroughly to deter their presence. 

When using insecticides, always carefully follow the instructions and safety precautions provided by the manufacturer. You can also hire professional pest control to apply insecticides for you, ensuring the job is done accurately to keep you and your family safe.

When To Hire a Truly Nolen Professional To Treat Boxelders

Knowing when to hire a pest professional to treat boxelder bugs can make a significant difference in effectively managing infestations and protecting your property. While some homeowners may opt for DIY methods, there are certain situations where the expertise and resources of a pest professional become invaluable. 

Here are some scenarios when it’s advisable to seek professional assistance:

Large-Scale Boxelder Infestations

If you’re dealing with a massive influx of boxelder bugs, it can be challenging to tackle the problem on your own. Pest professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle extensive infestations efficiently. They can assess the severity of the situation, devise a targeted treatment plan, and employ appropriate methods to eliminate and control the bugs.

Structural Damage

If boxelder bugs have caused visible damage to your property, such as weakened structures, compromised insulation, or persistent stains, it’s crucial to involve a pest professional. They can not only address the immediate infestation but also identify and rectify any structural vulnerabilities that may have facilitated the bug invasion. This helps prevent future infestations and ensures the long-term integrity of your property.

Health Concerns

While boxelder bugs are generally harmless to humans, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or respiratory issues in the presence of large populations. If you or your family members are experiencing adverse health effects or discomfort due to boxelder bugs, it’s advisable to consult a pest professional. They can provide targeted treatments and advice to mitigate the impact on your health.

Persistent Boxelder Infestations

Boxelder bugs have a tendency to return year after year, especially if their breeding sites are not addressed properly. If you’ve attempted DIY methods in the past but still find yourself dealing with recurring infestations, it’s time to bring in a pest professional. They have access to a range of effective treatments and can implement long-term solutions to break the cycle and prevent future outbreaks.

Expertise and Safety

Pest professionals possess in-depth knowledge about boxelder bug behavior, lifecycle, and effective treatment methods. They are well-equipped to handle the use of insecticides and other treatments safely and effectively. Additionally, they can offer advice on preventive measures and provide guidance on minimizing future infestation risks.

Effectively Dealing With Boxelder Bugs

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to managing boxelder bugs. If your property is located in an area prone to boxelder bug infestations or if you’ve had recurring issues in the past, it may be wise to consult with a Truly Nolen pest professional before the bugs become a major problem. They can assess your property, identify potential risk factors, and recommend proactive measures to keep boxelder bugs at bay.

$50 Off Year Round Pest Control

Truly Nolen is a family-owned company with 85 years of experience providing the best pest control. If you’re not completely satisfied, you’ll get a full refund on your most recent service with our 100% money back guarantee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are boxelder bugs and why are they on my property?

Boxelder bugs are small insects that are typically black with red or orange markings. They are attracted to boxelder trees, as well as other types of trees, and may congregate in large numbers on buildings seeking shelter during the cooler months.

Are boxelder bugs harmful or dangerous?

Boxelder bugs are not considered harmful or dangerous to humans or pets. They do not bite or sting and are not known to transmit diseases. However, their large numbers and presence can be a nuisance, especially when they enter homes or buildings. Learn More!

How can I prevent boxelder bugs from entering my home?

To prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home, ensure that all potential entry points, such as cracks, gaps, and openings, are sealed properly. Remove boxelder trees or treat them with appropriate insecticides to deter the bugs from congregating in your area.

How do I get rid of boxelder bugs once they have entered my home?

If boxelder bugs have already entered your home, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. It’s important to empty the vacuum bag or canister outside to prevent their reentry. If the infestation is significant or persistent, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control services.

Do boxelder bugs cause damage to my property?

Boxelder bugs do not cause structural damage to buildings or pose any significant threats to property. However, their excrement can leave stains on surfaces, and their presence in large numbers can be an annoyance. Learn more about boxelder bugs