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  • Writer's pictureBath Garden Center

Boxelder Bug Facts and Tips for Infestations or Prevention

Have you noticed growing populations of insects with black oval bodies and distinctive red markings around your home, in your landscaping, or on your trees and shrubs? These insects, known as boxelder bugs, are not uncommon to see throughout the Northern Colorado area and beyond. If you have been on the search to identify these insects or are curious if boxelder bugs will cause damage to your lawn and landscapes, you are in the right place. In this blog, we will talk about boxelder bugs, the potential issues they can cause, and effective strategies for managing their presence around your property. Let's dive in!


boxelder bugs congregated on cement surface

What Are Boxelder Bugs?

Boxelder bugs are small, black insects with distinctive red or orange markings on their wings and bodies. They are named after the boxelder tree, which is their primary host, although they can also be found on other maples and ash trees. These bugs are primarily a nuisance pest, often congregating in large numbers on buildings, especially in the fall as they seek warm places to overwinter. While they do not cause significant damage to plants or structures, their presence can be bothersome to homeowners.


Do Boxelder Bugs Cause Damage?

While boxelder bugs do feed on plant material, their feeding does not usually harm the plants. They also do not cause any damage to your home or other structures around your property. If found congregating on or around your home, these critters are likely seeking warmth and shelter as the seasons change. The main impact of boxelder bugs is primarily the annoyance they create for homeowners. But beware, these insects dp release a reddish-brown excrement that can stain walls, curtains, furniture, and other surfaces if they make their way into your home. The excrement can be difficult to clean and may leave behind permanent stains. Aside from this, boxelder bugs are not known to cause any permanent damage to trees, shrubs, perennials, buildings, or other structures.


How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs: 7 Tips

If you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with a population of boxelder bugs, either on your plants or in your home, here are some things you can try to control the population.


  1. Seal Entry Points: Close off any cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and foundations to prevent them from entering your home.

  2. Vacuum Regularly: Use a vacuum cleaner to remove boxelder bugs from inside your home. Dispose of the vacuum bag promptly to prevent them from escaping.

  3. Use Soap Solutions: Spray a mixture of water and dish soap directly on the bugs outside your home to kill them on contact.

  4. Remove Host Trees: If feasible, remove boxelder trees or trim branches that are close to your home to reduce their preferred habitat.

  5. Apply Insecticides: Use insecticides labeled for boxelder bugs on the exterior of your home, focusing on areas where they congregate. Follow the product instructions carefully, and be aware of any potential negative side effects of using chemical pesticides. Many pest control solutions target all bugs, good and bad, which may not lead to your intended outcome. We always recommend doing your research before using any product. You can also consult with our garden professionals here at Bath Garden Center!

  6. Maintain Cleanliness: Keep your yard clean by removing fallen leaves, plant debris, or other organic material that can attract boxelder bugs.

  7. Call Professionals: If the infestation is severe, consider hiring a pest control professional to manage the problem effectively.


Preventing Boxelder Bug Infestation

Sometimes there is only so much you can do to prevent insects from inhabiting outdoor areas. However, there are some things you can do to help discourage their presence in your space.


1. Remove Plant Material That May Attract Them

The first thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of a boxelder bug infestation would be to remove anything that will attract them to your yard. Since boxelder trees are their preference, removing any trees from your landscaping can help avoid attracting them in the first place. While this is an option, consider the impact this could have on the rest of your space before removing any mature and established plant material. Trees not only add value to your property, but they also provide habitats for wildlife, provide shade, can help reduce energy bills, and more. Learn more about the benefits of trees in our blog!


2. Keep Your Property Tidy and Clear of Plant Debris

As with any other insect populations, making sure your space is kept tidy and free of debris such as dead plant material goes a long way in keeping insects in check. Insects of all kinds love to make their homes in and feed on dead plant material, so leaving such debris scattered throughout your property only serves to attract insects.


3. Learn to Cohabitate

If you have noticed these critters around your space and are not necessarily bothered by their presence, there really is not much you need to do about them. Since they will not cause significant damage to any of the plants in your yard, your home, or any other elements of your landscaping, consider the idea of cohabitating. Many insects play important roles in our environments, and since they are docile creatures simply minding their own business and doing no harm, there may be no real point in attempting to exterminate them.


Visit Bath Garden Center for all Your Bug Facts and Tips

At Bath Garden Center, we have a team of professionals who have seen it all! If you are experiencing issues with your plants, whether indoors or outdoors, we are here to help. We can assist in diagnosing plants, identifying pests, providing care suggestions, and leading you to the best products to help your plants with whatever they may be struggling with. Give us a call, shop products online, or stop into the Garden Center to chat with a professional to get all the bug facts and tips you're looking for. We look forward to assisting you!

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