How to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs in My House


The boxelder bug, also known as boisea trivittata or stink bug, is a common nuisance found around female boxelder trees as well as maple and ash trees. Often the bug will seek shelter in homes and other buildings during the fall to get ready for winter hibernation, entering through any open crack or crevice. In the spring, the bugs gather in large groups on the sunny side of a building or home. The bug emits a strong, unpleasant odor when crushed and can also stain surfaces with a reddish color creating further nuisance for homeowners.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Boric acid
  • Wasp or hornet insecticide
  • Vacuum cleaner

Soapy Water Solution

  • Fill a spray bottle with approximately 2 tablespoons laundry soap.

  • Add water to fill the bottle.

  • Set the spray bottle nozzle to stream.

  • Spray the solution directly onto the boxelder bugs.

  • Use vinegar, if you wish, in addition or as a substitution for laundry detergent.

  • Repeat as necessary. The bugs will die relatively quickly, within a few hours, and it is advisable to dispose of them either by sweeping them up or vacuuming and discarding the remains in an outside trash receptacle.

Vacuum Solution

Boric Acid

  • Locate open crevices and areas where the boxelder bug gathers.

  • Spread boric acid along surfaces the bug comes into contact with, such as window sills.

  • Fill open crevices and cracks with boric acid. The bugs will either avoid those cracks and if they are already there the boric acid will likely kill them.


  • Purchase an insecticide specifically designed for wasps or one that lists boxelder bugs on it's label. Thoroughly read the instruction on insecticide.

  • Spray poison on the bugs directly and they will die within hours. Collect dead or dying bugs via vacuum or by using a broom to sweep the bugs into a collection container. Dispose of the container outside, away from the home in an outside trash receptacle.

  • Repeat as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to rid the home of boxelder bugs is to prevent them from entering the home. Seal up and/or caulk cracks around the home paying special attention to wooden window sills and the area around door frames.
  • Be careful if you decided to use insecticides. Take all proper precautions including using proper ventilation. Do not spray around children and pets and take care not to cross contaminate items in your home.

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  • Photo Credit spray bottle nozzle image by Kathy Burns from Sauberkeit image by Michael Homann from
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