Are Boxelder Bugs Taking Over Your Yard? Here's Our Tips for How to Get Rid of Them

Boxelder bugs aren't dangerous to you or your garden, but they can be annoying and gather in large numbers. Here's how to make them go away.

Kori Williams - Author

Mar. 1 2024, Published 4:16 p.m. ET

A boxelder at the side of someone's home.
Source: iStock

Changes in the weather bring all kinds of differences in the environment around us. As the seasons change, new plants grow, allergies flourish, and certain bugs make their presence known. During the hot summer months, boxelder bugs are ready for their time in the sun's spotlight.

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Although you may not have heard the name before, you may have seen these bugs in your garden spending lots of time around your plants. For many, these bugs are a nuisance, but how do you get rid of boxelder bugs? Luckily, there are a number of natural ways to do this that don't involve killing them.

A swarm of boxelder bugs outside.
Source: iStock
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What are boxelder bugs?

According to Real Simple, boxelder bugs are small, winged insects with black and red colorings. They are related to cicadas and stink bugs and are named after boxelder trees. Luckily, boxelder bugs aren't dangerous to people or plants, but they can be annoying, bite, and take over your garden in large enough numbers.

Plenty of people don't want bugs all over their plants. Although boxelder bugs don't harm your greens, Vincent Luca, owner of On Demand Pest Control, told Real Simple that these insects feed on plants, which causes the leaves to look wilted. "While this may not have a significant impact on the health of your trees and plants, it can affect their aesthetic appeal," he said.

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A boxelder bug on a branch.
Source: iStock

Getting rid of boxelder bugs doesn't have to be difficult. Here are three safe and simple methods you can use that are all-natural. Since these insects don't damage the structure of your home, you have more time to choose the best way to get them out without issue.

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Prevention is key when it comes to boxelder bugs.

To try and avoid boxelder bugs altogether, it's important to prevent them from coming into your home or garden in the first place. Real Simple says that you should try to seal any cracks that lead inside, including the openings of windows and doors.

Also, look to see which plants are in your garden. Boxelder bugs are attracted to boxelder, elm, maple trees, and more. If you have any of those among the rest of your plants, you should swap them out for other greens that these bugs aren't interested in.

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A swarm of boxelder bugs.
Source: iStock

Vacuum the boxelder bugs.

It may be tedious if you have a bigger infestation of bugs, but Better Homes & Gardens suggests that you vacuum these bugs to help dispose of them. Be sure to use a vacuum that empties into a bag you can close to safely remove it and empty it far away from your home.

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If you were considering squishing these bugs, it's not a good idea. Not only is it mean, but boxelder bugs can let off a foul smell when they are crushed, and their remains can leave stains after you clean them up.

Use streams of water against boxelder bugs.

Bob Villa points out that you can use strong streams of water to break up smaller groups of boxelder bugs. Using water as a deterrent won't kill them, but it could make them think twice about approaching your property again. A flood of water can help prevent larger swarms from coming together.

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