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Boxelder Bugs

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Donna Teasley
May 23, 2022

Hello, this is Donna Teasley, Horticulture Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center.

Boxelder bugs are large black and red insects, about one half inch long and are very common to our area. You can find huge numbers of these pesky insects congregating on buildings, walls, sidewalks and windows in the fall and spring. They are searching for dry, protected locations where they can stay warm. They frequently find their way inside houses which can cause concern for the homeowner.

These insects are often but not always found around boxelder and maple trees where they feed on seeds and other plant material. Removal of boxelder trees will help the problem but tree removal is not always possible. The use of a tank-type vacuum cleaner will enable the homeowner to remove large quantities of insects by simply vacuuming them and disposing of the bag. There are also some chemicals that will kill the box elder bug on contact, but these pesticides are only labeled for outdoor use. Indoor insect killers will kill those insects that make their way inside the house.

Boxelder bugs are tough to control and if the homeowner can wait them out, they will leave on their own. They can stain siding and sidewalks however so if large quantities are present steps should be taken to get rid of this seasonal insect pest.

This is Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information on this program you can call us at 764-9480.