Boxelder bugs congregate in Michigan attic - learn how to get rid of them with Griffin Pest Solutions

Boxelder bugs have become a common nuisance across the United States, and here in the Upper Midwest, it’s particularly bad. These invasive pests are easily recognizable by their distinctive red and black coloring, and while they’re not considered dangerous, they can be quite bothersome. Since they frequently gather in groups of hundreds or thousands, they can be a real nightmare if you’re not fond of bugs. 

While these insects can be challenging to deal with, it is still possible! Read on to learn more about these pests, how to get rid of boxelder bugs, and ways you can prevent future infestations. 

What Do Boxelder Bugs Look Like?

Boxelder bugs are a species of true bug native to North America, so they have six legs and antennae. They’re ½” long with black bodies, dark red eyes, and distinctive red markings on their abdomens and wings. 

How to Tell Boxelder Bugs Apart From Stink Bugs

Boxelder bugs and brown marmorated stink bugs are easily mistaken for each other due to their similar size and shape and emergence at similar times of the year. The easiest way to tell the difference is by the coloring:

  • Stink bugs: Brown with beige to gray spots
  • Boxelder bugs: Black with lines of striking red coloring

When Are Boxelder Bugs Most Common?

Although “boxelder season” is generally considered to be fall, you may find boxelders are equally prevalent in spring. That’s because, when the weather heats up, the insects emerge from their overwintering sites to feed and mate. Adult boxelders begin reproducing immediately after they wake up from winter dormancy, triggering population growth all season long.

Though boxelder bugs are most active in the fall after their populations have grown throughout the summer, you’re most likely to find them indoors come winter. Unlike some insects that die off when temperatures drop, these pests look for warm and sheltered places to hide out during the cold season. 

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What Attracts Boxelder Bugs?

When boxelders wake up they immediately start looking for a source of food. Boxelder bugs got their name from their affinity for boxelder trees and other trees in the acer family, but they’re not picky. They’ll eat just about anything, especially in early spring when they’re at their hungriest. They cling to trees, leaves, developing seedlings, or low vegetation. 

In the fall, these insects are also known for congregating in large groups on the warm sunny side of houses. As soon as temperatures start to cool off, they’ll sneak indoors to hibernate through the cold season. Indoors, you might find them in places like:

  • Crawl spaces
  • Attics
  • Wall voids
  • Insulation
  • Window frames
  • Basements

DIY Methods for Dealing with Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are harmless, which means that DIY removal is typically an option. There’s no risk to humans or pets, so you can get close enough to handle them. They’re also non-destructive, so time is not necessarily of the essence. If you want to try to take care of them yourself, you can try any of these methods:

  • Gentle Removal: Boxelder bugs are slow, allowing for easy removal by trapping and releasing them outside. While this method is effective for individuals, it may not address large infestations.
  • Squashing: If you feel like squashing a Boxelder bug, go ahead, but beware that they can release an odor that’s similar to stink bugs. The choice to squash or not depends on your tolerance for a temporary unpleasant smell.
  • Vacuuming: A vacuum cleaner with an extender attachment can suck up Boxelder bugs, but be sure to empty the bag and throw everything away outside as they may climb out if not.
  • DIY Traps: If you want to get creative, consider placing a tray with soapy water under a lamp. The light attracts the bugs, causing them to fall into the water and drown.
  • Mowing Regularly: Mowing your lawn frequently can help pick up fallen acer seeds, which will deprive the bugs of their food source over time. 
  • Wipe Down Surfaces: These insects release strong pheromones, so wiping down surfaces they’re attracted to – like the side of your house – can remove the scent. 

Should I Use Insecticides to Kill Boxelder Bugs?

If you’re fed up with Boxelder bugs and are considering using a store-bought pesticide in your home, be careful. Pesticides can be unsafe unless handled by a trained professional, and they may not be entirely effective in eliminating the infestation. If you reach the point where you’re considering pesticides for Boxelder bugs, just call the residential pest control experts at Griffin Pest Solutions instead.

When to Get Professional Boxelder Bug Removal

Whether you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn infestation or you just don’t feel like dealing with that many bugs, professional boxelder bug removal can help keep your space pest-free*. As these insects get more common across the Midwest, Griffin Pest Solutions is ready to help. Our experienced exterminators are well-versed in the biology and behaviors of these common pests and know how to get long-lasting results. Contact us today to get started!

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How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs! Serving Kalamazoo & Grand Rapids

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