Box Elder Bug Control

Rice weevils in white rice

Box elder bugs are a common nuisance pest in Dayton and Ohio's Miami valley. They're often seen by homeowners shortly after they turn on the heat in the late fall or early winter. The reason is that box elder bugs aren't very bright, and when the homeowner turns the heat on, they think it's spring.

You see, here's what happens. In the fall, the insects start looking for a warm place to pass the winter. So they crawl up under the siding of our homes and into the walls, and then they snuggle up somewhere, make themselves cozy, and wait for spring.

A few days or weeks pass by, and the homeowners finally resign themselves to the fact that they need to turn on the heat. The house starts to warm, the warmth penetrates into the walls, and the box elder bugs think it's spring. They yawn, stretch, and make their way into the home, where they fly around in great numbers frantically looking for a box elder tree (a kind of maple) to lay their eggs on. And because most people in the Dayton area don't have maple trees growing inside their homes, the box elder bugs become increasingly frantic as time goes on.

Now one may wonder why they fly into the home. The reason is because that's the direction the heat is coming from. It's cold outside, and warm inside; so they make their way toward the heat. Then they usually make their way toward the windows, trying to get outside, because that's where the trees are.

Are Box Elder Bugs Dangerous?

No, not at all. They don't bite, sting, carry diseases, or make weird noises. They're just a nuisance, especially because they come out in such great numbers. They do stain surfaces if you squish them, however.

Also, because the house may not heat up all at once, they may emerge from different walls on different days. And if there's an unused room that you usually keep unheated, like a guest room; and then you have a guest and turn on the heat, your guest may be greeted by a swarm of box elder bugs frantically trying to fly through the window to get to where the trees are.

Box Elder Bug Control

Once the box elder bugs have gotten into your home, it's too late for chemical control. Here are some ideas you can try instead.

  1. Try opening the window if it's sunny out. They may fly outside, and then you can close the window again before they realize it's still cold out.
  2. You may be able to suck them up with a strong vacuum cleaner that has an extension rod.
  3. Large sticky traps placed behind a bright lamp at night, when all the other lights are turned off, may trap some box elder bugs. The closer the color temperature of the bulb to natural sunlight, the better your chance of trapping them.
  4. Commercial light traps also help. (Don't use the electrocution-type traps inside the house, though.)

That's really about all you can do non-chemically for box elder bugs once they get into the house. If the problem is huge and the methods above don't work, call us, and there may be something we can do to ease the problem for you.

The real solution, however, is to treat the exterior of the home in the late summer or early fall, before the box elder bugs make their way into the walls. Sometimes this can be done by sealing them out, but many times that's impractical and we need to use an insecticide applied to the exterior of the home.

For help with box elder bugs or any pest problem, please call the experts at Dayton Pest Control.


Jarrod's Corner

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