How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs – The Easy Way!
Our fully inclusive guide on the boxelder bug, and how to get rid of them the easy way.
Boxelder bugs are becoming a more and more prevalent and common issue across homes in the United States, and without doubt, they are a nuisance.
We all want to know how to get rid of these critters from our homes once and for all, but it can be difficult to get a hold of the right information. This begs the question, how can I get rid of boxelder bugs, and do it the easy way?
Well today we’re going to be exploring more information on the boxelder bug, and covering how to best get rid of them the easy way.
Read on for more information!
What Does a Boxelder Bug Actually Look Like?
First things first, it’s important to know that it’s actually a boxelder bug that you’re dealing with in order to do so correctly, so it’d be helpful to know what they look like.
So what do boxelder bugs actually look like?
The boxelder bug – or scientific name, Boisea Trivittata, is first and foremost, a North American bug. Its’ name derives from its’ natural habitat, which is the boxelder tree. This bug, however, can also be found in ash trees and maple trees too.
In size, they are usually around half an inch long, and have distinguishable shoulders which are either red or orange in colour. This contrasts with the rest of their body being black, so they’re pretty easy to spot.
They can move very quickly because of their six long legs, and they navigate their surroundings well due to the two long antennae they have, located closely to their mouths.
Their eyes are pretty creepy, being bright red and ball – shaped. Really, they’re far too big for their heads, or they look to be anyway. A little bit alien – like.
How Can I Be Sure I Identify the Boxelder Bug Correctly?
When it comes to identifying the boxelder bug, you shouldn’t really have too difficult a job. As we have listed above in our visual description of the boxelder bug, they have some fairly unique features which makes them easily distinguishable. Plus they usually come in swarms, so you know. Pretty easy to spot a large group of them.
Their most distinct feature is, without a doubt, the two red / orange stripes that run along the sides of their body, and the third one that is located just behind their heads.
Spotted in the house, these tend to be the adult boxelder bugs. They’re recognisable by their size, which is usually around the mark of half an inch in length, as we mentioned earlier. Their long black wings are noticeable too, as they sit crossed on their back.
Sometimes, it’s easy to mistake these for stink bugs because they do resemble them in some ways.
In terms of their nymphs, the babies of the boxelder bug develop in eggs. Their nests are easy to identify too because you can spot their eggs on the leaves and seed pods of boxelder trees in particular. In colour, their eggs are yellow, and tend to be placed together in large groups.
As the boxelder nymph continue to grow inside of the egg, the colour begins to change from yellow to red. These nymphs will go through five different stages of life before they are fully grown boxelder bugs.
Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful to Us?
One of the most commonly asked questions we receive about boxelder bugs, is whether or not they are harmful to us as human beings.
The answer is no, effectively. The boxelder bug tends to feed on the essential oils found in seed pods from boxelder trees, maple trees, and vines.
However, if you are a keen gardener or even just have fruit in the vicinity, then boxelder bugs can also feed on this. They feed through a method called proboscis, which effectively penetrates the tissue of the plant in question. Their acidic mouth fluids also make it easier for them to consume the plants.
Can Their Habits Cause Damage to Our Environment?
Although they don’t harm us, it’s true that boxelder bugs and their feeding habits can be harmful to plants and trees. As well as this, they can cause some other kinds of damage you may not have been aware of.
The vast majority of the damage happens to boxelder and maple trees, wherein they develop a yellow, curling shape. This is a tell – tale sign of a boxelder bug infection.
If they enter the home, however, boxelder bugs can cause us some problems.
It’s not that they spread disease, eat our food, or even cause structural damage. They sometimes show up in the flour, so it’s important to seal this tightly, but that’s about it.
However, in large numbers, they can cause different problems. When disturbed or crushed, the produce a disgusting odour, and the amount of excrement and dead bugs they leave in their wake can become unbearable.
If swarms are allowed to stay for elongated periods of time, they can also discolour the walls.
When you bear all of that in mind, if you find then in your home, you’ll want to get rid of them – and quick!
How Can I Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs in my Home?
Okay, so now we’re getting to the important bit. How can we get rid of boxelder bugs within the home?
Destroying all of the bugs inside and just outside of your home has been proven as the best method of extermination.
The biggest issue with doing this, is that the corpses of the boxelder bugs can cause other insect – eating insects to invade, such as carpet beetles, who will lay their eggs right beside the remains.
There are some safe methods, however, which will not attract carpet beetles or other bugs. We’re going to be taking a look at the best of these just below!
Boxelder Bug Spray
First up, we have boxelder bug spray, which is designed specifically to target and kill boxelder bugs.
Usually these are odourless and do not stain surfaces. So long as they are approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), then you’re pretty much good to go.
When using these sprays, you should always be careful to closely follow the instructions that come with them, as some might contain some potent chemicals and ingredients, and will only be suitable for use in certain areas. For example, many of them would kill plants, however, are perfectly safe to spray on surfaces and countertops within the home. It’s all about knowing what it is you’re using, and how best to utilise it.
These sprays are often fairly easy to use, and can be applied to surfaces, as we mentioned above, or even directly onto the bugs.
Different sprays will differ, but you should try and use one which will protect you for an elongated period of time. It’s likely you’ll have to reapply the spray every week or two in order to get rid of the infestation entirely.
Using Dish Soap
Next up, we come to a home remedy you’re likely to have immediate access to, in the form of dish soap.
The theory behind using common dish soap in order to kill a boxelder bug infestation, is that it actually breaks down their hard shell. In doing this, the membrane of the bugs’ cell actually deteriorates, and the bug becomes dehydrated, and then eventually dies.
In order to use dish soap effectively against the boxelder bug, you must spray it directly onto the bug. Dish soap will not affect the bugs that don’t come into contact with it directly. Remember that.
All you need in order to use this method effectively, is an empty spray bottle. Then all you have to do is mix 30ml of dish soap with water, and mix it together. After that, it’s all about targeting the bugs and spraying them directly. Simple!
Use a Boxelder Bug Trap
Last of all, but not least, there are three different ways of trapping a boxelder bug, using:
The bugs are attracted to light, so if you can incorporate it into your trap, you’ll be able to easily entice them. Furthermore, any form of electricity tends to be mesmerising to pests. With traps that use electricity, it’s easy to gather them and get rid of them permanently.
Glue traps work a little differently. As the name suggests, they’re made with a sticky substance, and should be laid around where the bugs habituate. It’ll trap them as so.
With powder traps, these usually have a source of light to entice the bugs, and are filled with a certain powder which sticks to the legs of the bug and stops them escaping again. This method incorporates two of the best methods, and trap – wise we would say is likely to be the most effective.
Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Boxelder bugs aren’t incredibly dangerous to your dog or cat, but they can make them feel sick. If your pet does ingest a boxelder bug, it may cause him or her to salivate excessively or start vomiting.
If you eat flour with boxelder bugs, they are unlikely to harm you. If you’re concerned about flour bug consumption, it’s recommended that you heat the flour up before eating it. If you’re using products in baking, the high temperatures would help to have made the flour safe to eat.
According to experts, eating a bug isn’t cause for worry. In general, your body will digest arthropods, which include arachnids like spiders, mites, and ticks, and insects such as gnats, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and bed bugs just like any other food.
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