360.859.9090 | 503.405.4300

What are boxelder bugs?

The Vancouver and greater Pacific Northwest are host to all sorts of pests, from rodents to wasps to ants and more. One incredibly common household pest is called the boxelder bug. 

Boxelder bugs are insects that are approximately one-half inch in length, and are typically black or dark brown in color. One of their most distinguishing characteristics is the bright red markings that follow the lines of the bug’s wing veins, as well as its abdomen. The adolescent boxelder bug is almost entirely this red color until it reaches maturity. 

True to its name, the boxelder is primarily found in close proximity to — you guessed it — boxelder trees. Additionally, the boxelder bug is commonly found on certain ash and maple trees, and even some fruit trees. 

Do boxelder bugs pose a threat?

Boxelder bugs are not stinging insects and are not known to cause physical harm to humans or spread disease. However, the boxelder can be an incredible nuisance for you and your family, and though they are not classified as agricultural pests (like locusts, stink bugs, and armyworms), they can cause damage to your trees and the fruit they bear. 

Their favorite food is seeds from the boxelder tree (or seeds of those trees mentioned earlier), but their diet is not limited to the seeds only. Boxelders will commonly feed on the trees themselves, resulting in premature fruit fall, scarring, and causing a porous, cork-like effect to the tree.

Can boxelder bugs cause damage?

The nuisance that these pests cause are also not limited to outside of the home. Boxelders are renown for preferring the sunny side of your home to nest, and are commonly found by folks in our profession to nest in any voids found in your home’s walls. 

Due to the fact that these insects follow the same flight patterns year after year, your home can become a virtual breeding ground for boxelders. Before too long, they’ll make their way into the home, causing you even more grief. They do not reproduce indoors (they tend to do that as close as possible to their primary food source), but they will inhabit the home, causing damage to plants and even to the home itself, but perhaps not for the reason you think. Their droppings can stain lighter colored materials.

What can I do to prevent a boxelder bug infestation?

Boxelders, like most pests, are pursuing a singular goal: survival of its species. This typically requires a few crucial factors: food, water, and shelter. 

One reliable way of keeping boxelders away from your home and off of your property is by not having any boxelder maple trees in your yard. Unfortunately, this method is not fool-proof, as boxelder bugs are flying insects willing to travel as far as two miles from their home in order to secure food and water. 

If you simply must have boxelder maple trees on your property or near your home, we recommend planting only the male variety. Male boxelder maple trees are non-seed bearing, and do not produce the food source that the insects desire the most (the female seed-bearing variety). 

We understand that tree removal isn’t always possible, practical, or that you may have female seed-bearing trees on your property that you love. If your goal is to keep your trees while doing your best to keep boxelder bugs away, then keeping the ground free of seed pods is your best bet. 

Simple tips for keeping boxelder bugs out of your home in Vancouver 

Outside of these tree-specific precautions you can take, there are a variety of ways in which you can prevent boxelder bugs (and many other pests!) from entering your home and creating a terrible nuisance. 

  • Review your home’s exterior for cracks in the foundation. These cracks can create a means for the boxelder to enter the home. Seal any cracks that you find with materials appropriate for your type of residence.
  • Examine your home’s windows and doors for any breaks in seals, gaps, or other openings that boxelder bugs or other pests might be able to enter through. Fix accordingly. Not only will this help keep your home pest-free, but taking these sorts of measures will help improve your home’s energy efficiency as well. 
  • Have an abundance of leaves, rocks, or piles of wood near your home? We suggest you strongly consider getting rid of them. Sites such as these are great places for bugs and other pests to take shelter in. If these creatures choose to nest in these areas, then it’s only a matter of time before they try to work their way into the home where it’s warm, sheltered, and there’s plenty of food and water. 

Professional boxelder bug extermination in Vancouver, WA

As we’ve mentioned, boxelder bugs are creatures of habit. Once they’ve established a flight pattern, they’ll come to the same spot year-after-year in order to nest and reproduce. Left untreated, this infestation will get worse and worse over time. 

Fall is when most people observe boxelder bugs in great abundance, as this is when the insects leave the maple trees in order to find a safer area to overwinter. Unless boxelder bugs have made their way inside your home, they are largely inactive during the winter. Spring is a time for locating nesting sites, and summer is when their eggs will hatch. 

If small numbers of the bugs enter the home, they can often be caught by hand, swept up, or vacuumed and disposed of. Naturally, this might not be an option if the infestation is large. If you’re observing a large number of boxelder bugs outside and on your home, we recommend that you call a professional for assistance.

Boxelder bugs are flying insects. Therefore, confidently stating that we can eliminate 100% of these bugs just isn’t realistic. (And we’d caution you to carefully consider the honesty of anyone who told you that they could. Certain flying insects are simply that hard to contain and eradicate.) 

That being said, the vast majority of those folks who have chosen Aspen Pest Control as their trusted partner in pest control state that they see a huge difference in just one treatment. We use the safest, most-advanced methods available in our profession to treat your home and property for boxelder bugs — in the areas where the insects are visible and also in the hidden areas where some might not think to look. 

Many of our customers prefer our quarterly, four seasons Home Protection Plan. This gives us the opportunity to regularly review problem areas where pests thrive, break the cycle of certain pests for future prevention, and to ensure that you have the peace of mind you deserve. Because this plan is a proactive approach, you won’t feel caught off guard by pest situations that can sometimes occur when you least expect them to. 

To learn more about how Aspen Pest Control is helping your friends and neighbors in Vancouver solve all of their extermination needs, please give us a call. We’d love the opportunity to show you how we’re delighting customers in the greater southwest Washington and Portland areas. We provide hassle-free estimates, and rapid response time. Call today — we can’t wait to serve you