How to get rid of boxelder bugs outside your house – expert tips

If boxelder bugs are invading your outdoor space, we have the top tips to help banish them

Blue front door
(Image credit: Urban Front)

Managing pests, such as boxelder bugs, is a crucial part of ensuring a comfortable outdoor environment around your home. While boxelder bugs are not harmful to humans, pets or property, they can be a nuisance, plus you don't want boxelder bugs getting into your home, so it's important to know how to rid your yard of them. 

Using safe and non-toxic methods when dealing with boxelder bugs is ideal since it will ensure no harm comes to your plants or pets.

Our experts have recommended the top six ways to get rid of boxelder bugs outside the home.

How to get rid of boxelder bugs outside your house

Abe Nyayapathi from Bio Recovery, a bioremediation cleaning company, says, 'It's usually best to focus on prevention and non-toxic control methods to keep their populations in check and avoid using excessive chemicals.' This can be done by removing attractants, making homemade bug sprays and using repellents to keep these pests at bay.

1. Remove attractants

boxelder bug on leaf

(Image credit: Alamy)

'Boxelder bugs feed on boxelder, maple, and ash tree seeds. If you have such trees near your home, consider removing them or reducing their proximity to your house,' advises Janille Mangat, a cleaning specialist at VMAP. 'This can discourage boxelder bugs from congregating around your property.'

Abe Nyayapathi recommends, 'Clean up fallen seeds, leaves, and fruit from these trees promptly, as they provide a food source for the bugs.'

'Boxelder bugs are also attracted to warm surfaces,' continues Janille Mangat, 'so they often gather on sunny sides of buildings. To deter them, keep the areas around your house free of debris, leaves, and other organic matter that can provide hiding spots and warmth.'

2. Apply diatomaceous earth

'Distributing diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home can serve as a natural deterrent. This powder will gradually dehydrate and eliminate the bugs without posing risks to your plants or pets,' explains Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal.

'Diatomaceous earth is a natural and safe insecticide made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms,' adds Prerna Jain, owner of Ministry of Cleaning. 'Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home, especially in areas where boxelder bugs congregate. It creates a barrier that can help deter them from crossing.'

We recommend this diatomaceous earth insect killer from Walmart.

Gene Caballero
Gene Caballero

Gene Caballero grew up living in South America and Middle Tennessee. He has a MBA in Finance and worked as a corporate sales coach for a Fortune 50 company. Gene has worked in the landscaping industry for over 25 years, including many deck installation and repair projects. 

3. Use a soap water solution

'To get rid of boxelder bugs outside of your home, simply make a mixture of water and dish soap in a spray bottle,' says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. 'It’s a simple and very effective method.' 

Abe Nyayapathi suggests, 'Use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle attachment to spray boxelder bugs off the exterior walls of your house. This can help to reduce their numbers. Mix a solution of water and dish soap (a few tablespoons of soap per gallon of water) and spray it on the bugs. This soapy water can suffocate and kill the bugs.'

Repeat this treatment as necessary whenever you spot these pests.

'As a stronger alternative to a soap water solution, commercially available insecticidal soaps can be employed,' advises Gene Caballero. 'They are crafted to break down the exoskeleton of the bugs, leading to them dehydrating.' 

You can find insecticidal soaps at Amazon.

These soaps are eco-friendly and pose minimal risk to pets, humans, and will deal with a boxelder bug problem without harming your plants.

4. Try a neem oil treatment

Another organic way to rid your outdoor space of boxelder bugs is to spray surrounding plants with neem oil. This can stop them from multiplying.

'Neem oil, an organic remedy, interferes with the boxelder bugs' life cycle,' explains Gene Caballero. 'Follow the instructions on the packaging to spray it around the affected areas for best results.' 

We suggest this Captain Jack's neem oil insecticide, from Walmart

5. Strategic planting

boxelder bugs

(Image credit: Alamy)

Parveen Garg from Ola Clean recommends, 'Plant boxelder bug-repellent plants. Several plants repel boxelder bugs, such as marigolds, chrysanthemums, and lavender. Planting these plants around your home and garden can help to reduce the number of boxelder bugs in the area.'

6. Use insecticides

In extreme cases or when other methods are ineffective, chemical pesticides may be considered as a final resort.

'If you have a severe infestation, you can consider using insecticides labeled for outdoor use. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label carefully,' advises Abe Nyayapathi. 'Apply insecticide around the perimeter of your home, especially in areas where boxelder bugs are commonly found.' 

'It’s advisable to engage a professional exterminator to oversee the safe and effective application of chemical treatments,' warns Gene Caballero.


How can I deter boxelder bugs from my yard?

Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal advises maintaining a clean yard is one of the best ways to deter boxelder bugs. 'Regular yard clean ups including removal of fallen leaves, debris, and seeds from boxelder trees will deter these bugs from gathering around your home.' This won't leave them any warm places to be drawn to.

Abe Nyayapathi from Bio Recovery adds, 'Boxelder bugs often congregate in gutters and downspouts. Clean these areas regularly to remove debris and bugs.'

How can I prevent boxelder bugs from entering my home?

Abe Nyayapathi from Bio Recovery suggests, 'Consider placing physical barriers like insect screening or netting over windows, vents, and other openings to prevent boxelder bugs from entering your home.'

Abe Nyayapathi advises, 'If you have a persistent boxelder bug problem that you can't manage on your own, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They can assess the situation and provide targeted treatments.'

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.