How to Control Box Elder Bugs MN

Box Elder Bug Control MN

Box Elder Bugs cause concern in the fall when they gather in considerable numbers on the warm outside walls of homes. Similar to Asian lady beetles, (also known as the multicolored Asian lady beetle, and (because it invades homes in October in preparation for hibernation) as Halloween lady beetle) and other seasonal invaders, box elder bugs sometimes find their way into houses looking for a suitable place to over winter.  When they gain entry to buildings through cracks or other openings they remain in wall cavities and will occasionally emerge inside the home in the spring.  They will not breed indoors, so there is no danger of starting an “infestation”.


They cause no structural damage whatsoever but they can “spot” interior furnishings with their droppings. They can’t bite, they don’t eat anything on the inside of your house, including house plants, and they won’t harm you, your family or your pets.

Helpful Tools To Help Eliminate Box Elder Bugs:

For Homes Constructed of Stucco, Stone or Brick Veneer

  • Check the outside doe spaces and cracks that may allow insect’s easy entry, sealing any openings 1/8th inch in size or larger. This will not eliminate all Boxelder bugs but it can significantly reduce the number entering buildings.
  • Seal cracks and spaces around doors, windows, roof lines, and fascia boards and other area where vertical surfaces meet horizontal ones.
  • Also check for gaps and cracks where different materials meet, such as brick and wood siding. Seal cracks with caulk, such as silicone, elastometric latex, or silicone/acrylic.
  • For stone or brick veneer, the bottom of the walls will have ‘weep holes’ and the must not be sealed up.  Instead, visit a local hardware store and request ventilation plugs that can be installed in these weep holes.

For Homes Constructed of Vinyl Siding

  • Unfortunately, houses with vinyl siding provides too many gaps to effectively exclude these insects. These houses are designed for aesthetics, durability, and energy efficiency. Relative to excluding insects, the benefits of these houses is that they are often effectively sealed with a ‘house wrap’ places underneath the siding.
  • For these types of houses, concentrate on the recommendations for all houses and use an insecticide on areas where these bugs have congregated in the past. In our experience, large numbers collecting around the doors and other entryways are often the most prevalent means of entry during the fall.

For All Homes

  • Repair or replace damaged windows and door systems.
  • Repair or replace damaged screens in roof and soffit vents, and in bathroom and kitchen fans.
  • Seal areas where cable TV wires, phone lines, and other utility wires and pipes, outdoor facets, dryer vents and similar objects enter buildings.
  • Seal with caulk or for large spaces use polyurethane expandable spray foam, copper mesh, or other appropriate sealant.
  • Install door sweeps or thresholds to all exterior entry doors. Install a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors.

Once Box elder bugs have moved into the cavities of a home in the fall, there is little that can be done to eliminate them.  Control or exclusion must be done in the summer and fall.  Removing all box elder trees in an area will prevent breeding. Caulking windows and doors, and repairing window and door screens will prevent bugs from entering a home. If you decide you would like to spray for control, one home remedy is to use a 3-4% mix of water and soap (by volume) that can be sprayed directly on the insects. Remember however that soaps only kill on contact in extreme cases have a Minnesota pest control professional apply a residual insecticide to exterior walls in the fall where the bugs are congregating – this will tend to discourage them from landing. Insecticides are not very effective after the weather turns cold.


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