The orange reddish markings on their back, with a flattened oval
shaped body, make Boxelder bugs stand out among other fall pests.
Six legs and 2 antennae are two additional traits that make up the
body of boxelder bugs.
Boxelder bugs are also fond of maple trees, among other plants.
Chicago has a high concentration of maple trees in the city and suburbs,
which leads to many boxelder infestations in the fall months.
Boxelder populations can grow in massive numbers and invade homes
and businesses, sometimes leaving fecal stains on surfaces as evidence.
Where Do Boxelder Bugs Come From?
Hibernating for the majority of winter months, Boxelder bugs start
showing up when the weather warms.
Immediately after they've spent months in hibernation, Boxelders
seek vegetation and seeds to feed as spring turns to summer.
Boxelder mating season begins after a couple of months spent feeding.
By the end of July, most Boxelders have finished their mating and
begin their migration to boxelder trees.
Laying their eggs on leaves, trunks, and branches of boxelder trees,
the black and red bugs do so to ensure that their offspring will hatch
in time for peak blooming on the trees.
Upon blooming, boxelder trees supply nymphs with reliable food through
the deposit of seeds.
As the fall months roll in, homeowners and property managers will
notice boxelder bugs swarming their homes and buildings.
Boxelders are especially attracted to solitary tall buildings, offering
exposed areas that allow prolonged hibernation.
Buildings with western or southern sun exposure are at an increased
risk, as boxelders seek prolonged sun coverage in the fall months.
How To Prevent Boxelder Bugs Infestations
As the fall months roll in, Boxelder bugs will begin to slip into
homes and businesses with vulnerabilities to outside pest intrusions.
Screens and windows provide the most common source of entry for all
Boxelder bug infestations.
Boxelder bugs will be looking for any means of entry to avoid the
cold months ahead and provide a warm, isolated area for prolonged
hibernation that follows.
Maintaining a good seal and repair on any cracks around windows or
holes in screens will ensure that your home has a fighting chance
against infestations of all kinds.
If you have already uncovered a large number of boxelder bugs infesting
your property, utilizing a vacuum will clean up the problem.
Many pest control professionals suggest utilizing a shop-vac to suck
away your boxelder problem, though this may only be a temporary solution
if a large scale infestation has already begun.
Spraying exterior walls outside the home with residual insecticides
can also assist in the stoppage of boxelders over-wintering the property,
especially if earlier prevention measures were not taken.
Insecticide spray also works around window seals and baseboards in
While this interior boxelder treatment will not prevent their entry,
it can cause any lingering boxelders to die upon contact with the
Homeowners will also want to plug all cracks to foundation and roof,
as these breaches allow mass entry to boxelders looking to spend their
winter hibernation period in the comfort of a well heated structure.
What Attracts Boxelder Bugs?
Besides the boxelder's obvious attraction to a warm, sun filled
structure for the fall through winter months, many other elements
attract this pest.
Feeding primarily on boxelder tree seeds and ripe leaves, boxelder
bugs also sometimes feed on plum and apple tree fruit.
Having apple or plum trees may put homeowners and property managers
at an increased risk of infestation if preventionary measures are
not taken early.
Warm rocks and trees are also attractive destinations for these
pests, seeking early shelter from the approaching brisk fall months
that lead to cold Chicagoland winters.
Found throughout the Eastern portion of North America, Boxelder
bugs are especially fond of the Chicago area due to the heavy abundance
of maple trees.
The boxelder tree, actually a species of maple tree, natively found
in the Chicago region, acts as a main attraction for migrating boxelder
bugs looking for a place to breed their offspring.
Located throughout the Chicago suburbs on residential properties
and public parks, this large tree typically resides in direct sunlight
and can be as tall as 50 feet.
Owning a boxelder maple or being within close proximity makes your
home or property a prime target for infestation in the fall to winter
months, which are especially mild in Illinois.
Boxelders are able to fly up to 2 miles, so even if this tree doesn't
exist on your property, a close proximity still poses a direct risk
Tree stumps, standing debri piles, and other species of ash trees
are all also attractive to boxelder bugs scouting their next move
before fall hibernation.
Do Boxelder Bugs Cause Damage?
Despite being a big nuisance to homeowners, Boxelder bugs are typically
considered to be a low risk pest in regards to damage caused and
physical harm to humans.
While not known to bite, other than in rare defensive cases, boxelders
often release an odor when smashed, which many find pungent and
Their feces has also been known to stain surfaces in the home,
which also often acts as the first indication to their presence
and infestation of the structure.
DIY Home Remedies For Boxelder Bugs Control and Prevention
Many homeowners believe that using moth balls will prevent or cure
a boxelder infestation.
Unfortunately for practitioners of this DIY method, moth balls
do little more than stink up your house in regards to pest control.
Boxelder bugs will be unaffected by the application of mothballs
in areas suspected of infestation.
Save yourself the trouble and stick to the proven methods.
Other homeowners have a belief that soapy water will act as a repellent
to invading droves of boxelder bugs.
Like mothballs, soapy water does little to deter migrating masses
of boxelders, other than possibly drowning infant offspring.
Sticking to traditional pest control methods that are proven to
prevent active or impending infestations from boxelder bugs will
save time, energy, and money in the long run.
While no home remedy holds a magic fix for prevention, conventional
methods of boxelder control are relatively simple and will also
protect your home from other forms of pest infestation.
When To Call Starks Pest Control
With Over 10 years of hands on expertise in boxelder bug extermination,
Starks Pest Control provides Chicagoland with extensive expert services
that will end an infestation and prevent future intrusions, guaranteed.
Licensed and bonded, homeowners and property managers can rely
on Starks Pest Control's proven track record of efficient boxelder
extermination and prevention, coupled with amazing customer service.
We offer a free estimate, taking a full evaluation of the infestation
and providing our clients with an idea of cost and duration needed
to eradicate their pest problem.