Boxelder Bug

Boxelder bugs (Image 1) are a common nuisance insect to many homeowners. Even though they are active all summer long, they are rarely noticed as a nuisance until fall when they congregate on the South and West sides of the house and other buildings (Image 2).

You don’t have to own a Boxelder tree to have Boxelder bugs; they feed on many different plants including maple, ash, many fruit trees, grapes, strawberries, grass and many more.

Overwintering adults emerge and fly from a block to 2 miles away to feed on host plants. They soon mate and the females lay eggs. Eggs hatch in 10 to 14 days and the nymphs begin feeding. After a number of nymph stages, they reach adult stage, mate and produce a second generation. (Life-cycle Image 4)

As temperatures cool down in the fall, they leave the plants they are feeding on to find a protected area for the winter. This is when they can become a nuisance, by congregating on homes and buildings (Images 2, 3 & 5). These gatherings generally occur on the south and west sides of buildings and on warm days throughout the winter they will emerge to warm up in the sun.

Although nymphs may be present in the fall, only adults can winter-over to mate next year.


Since the only problem with Boxelder bugs is that they are a nuisance, keeping them out of the house or buildings is the first step. Caulk windows and doors and make sure they are in good working order and reduce possible places where they may enter.

Outside the building: In the grass, landscape, mulch, plants and such, a granular application may be appropriate, Hi-Yield® Turf Ranger II or Hi-Yield® Bug Blaster II Granules are the best choice. Apply and lightly water to activate. Another choice would be to use a spray, Hi-Yield® 38 Plus is the best, most effective choice, the addition of Hi-Yield® Spreader Sticker to the mix will help kill, chemical-tolerant adults. Another choice is Natural Guard® Brand by ferti•lome® Insecticidal Soap, this is a contact control only.

If they do get into the house: A dry application would be Natural Guard® Brand by ferti•lome® Diatomaceous Earth. Apply in the areas you see them. Spray choice would be Hi-Yield® Kill-a-Bug II RTU which can kill by contact or residue.

The longest lasting choice for indoors or outdoors is Hi-Yield® Multi-Use Dust. One application can last up to a month.


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