Their common name reflects the fact that they are a major pest of Boxelder trees. Boxelder bugs are primarily a nuisance pest because they enter structures mainly in late fall to winter-over.
The over-wintering adults emerge from hibernation when the Boxelder tree buds open and they fly back to their host trees. They first feed on the fallen Boxelder seeds and later move to the female Boxelder trees when the seeds begin to form, feeding on the newly developed leaves. Boxelder bugs are also known to feed on seed bearing Silver Maples trees and fruits of plum and/or apple trees.
In the Fall, Boxelder bugs congregate on the south side (sunny side) of rocks, trees, and buildings. After large masses congregate, they tend to fly to nearby buildings to hibernate for the winter. Once inside the Boxelder bug is primarily a nuisance pest. However, their fecal materials may cause red stains, resulting in discoloration on curtains, drapes, clothing, and/or other resting places. Since Boxelder bugs can cause staining and are also known to bite, best temporary relief is using a vacuum to remove the bugs.
Control begins outside. Caulk and seal any possible entry points around your home/building. Repair screens and/or vents that are damaged. *NOTE: These exclusions should be done before September; when Boxelder bugs try to over-winter. Spray infested trees; such spray requires special equipment and is usually done by a licensed ornamental tree contractor. You may also consider cutting the infested trees down. Unfortunately, on occasion some or all of infested trees may not be on your property. In this case, you should educate your neighbor about the available solutions.
In addition to exclusion, treatment of trees, and/or removal of trees; we would treat the exterior of your home with a water-based material on any typical harboring sites, with a 60 day guarantee; call us for full guarantee details. On the inside we would do spot treatments by possible entry and/or harboring sites. Usually the best service dates are in September or October when Boxelder bugs are trying to enter your home to winter-over.