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Box elder bugs congregating on house

Just when you thought box elder bugs were a thing of the spring, they disappointingly emerge again with abundance in the fall. Sure, these pesky red and black bugs aren’t dangerous or destructive, but they can be extremely annoying. In fact, when box elder bugs hang out on your house in clumps, an infestation can seem overwhelming, and understandably so! However, with a little work (and help from Plunkett’s), this doesn’t have to be the case.


Box Elder Bugs Congregating Near Window

If you can keep box elder bugs from congregating, you won’t have to worry about certain box elder-based inconveniences. Here are six easy ways to keep box elder beetles away from your home in the spring and the fall:

How to Get Rid of Box Elder Bugs

Getting rid of box elder bugs doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Follow these 6 tips to keep these pesky red and black flying bugs away from your house:

1. Spray Bugs with Dish Soap

To make your own box elder bug spray, mix a tablespoon of dish soap into a spray bottle of water. As you find large groups of box elder beetles clustered together, spray them with the dish soap and water mixture. You’ll kill box elder bugs by saturating them fully with the water and dish soap mixture.

Plus, soapy water is repulsive to box elder bugs; so even if they don’t die, they won’t want to spend time in that spot any longer. Spray the congregation of bugs until they disperse. Then, scoop up and dispose of any bugs you killed.

2. Clean Large Surfaces with Dish Soap

Box elder bugs commonly congregate on warm, heat-reflective surfaces where they can soak up warmth. Once they’ve gathered on a building, they can often find their way inside. To keep these bugs from hanging out on your home or business, spray them like we mentioned above, then scrub down their perches with soapy water or scented cleaning solution.


Box Elder Bugs Gathering on Home

Using a cleaning solution will help repel box elders and prevent them from returning. Scrubbing the problem area will also help with washing away the pheromones that box elder beetles secrete. This is why we recommend against crushing box elder bugs; when you crush them, they release a foul-smelling liquid that attracts other bugs (pheromones).

3. Vacuum Up the Box Elder Bugs

Vacuuming up box elder beetles as soon as you see them will help keep them away. After you’ve sucked up the bugs, throw out the vacuum cleaner bag right away… otherwise they may just crawl out! Clean up the areas where you vacuumed with soapy water immediately after removing the box elder beetles.

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Vacuuming Up Box Elder Bugs to Prevent Future Infestations

4. Seal Up Doors and Windows

As box elder bugs bunch up together, they push each other into gaps and cracks around their perches. Once they’re inside these gaps, they follow heat until they’re inside the building. To keep box elder bugs out, seal gaps around your windows and door frames and fill any cracks and gaps you see with caulk.


Sealing Up Window to Keep Box Elder Bugs from Entering Home

5. Seal or Replace Ill-Fitting Electrical Cover Plates

Because box elder bugs are attracted to heat, they frequently end up in electrical outlets, switch boxes, heating ducts, or return air vents. Their flat bodies allow them to squeeze under plates that are even slightly out of place.


Removing and Replacing Ill-Fitting Electrical Cover Plates to Keep Box Elder Bugs Out

6. Remove or Trim Box Elder Trees

Box elder bugs live around seed producing box elder trees. If you have a tree on your property that produces those little “helicopter” seed pods, then it’s attracting box elder bugs. Removing the tree will substantially reduce the number of box elders around your home.


Box Elder Tree Leaves

If you can’t remove the tree, consider trimming the tree regularly instead. Mow or rake up seed pods as they fall as much as possible. The less comfortable box elders feel in your yard, the less they’ll want to stick around.


Box Elder Bugs Congregating on Box Elder Tree

If You Can’t Box Out the Box Elders, Get in Touch with Plunkett’s!

If you’ve tried the tips above and you’re still wondering, how do you get rid of box elder bugs?! The experts at Plunkett’s can help! We offer bug removal from houses and businesses. Get in touch with Plunkett’s today to get and keep box elder bugs out.

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