Summary: Fast growing populations of boxelder bugs make control very difficult. As Boxelder bugs migrate from trees they often find houses in their migratory path, making the house likely spots to over-winter.
Greg D; McCreary, Manitoba, Canada asks: I have boxelder bugs or maple bugs as they sometimes called. I have tried various methods to get rid of them, but nothing works for long. Can you suggest anything else as they are driving me mad.
Dear Greg: Boxelder bugs, or box elder bugs, depending upon your preference, can really grow their populations once they move on your site. Their populations grow from year to year and since they do not die at the onset of winter, their populations can reach really huge numbers.
When boxelder bugs infest trees you will find them massed on the tree limbs, in the bark and even on the ground at the base of the tree. This massing usually happens in the spring when the boxelder comes out of its winter hibernation.
As the season progresses the boxelder bugs will begin looking for new places to hibernate and that's where your house comes into play. They will look for every crack and crevice they can find and your job will be to seal up those tiny spaces before the boxelder bug finds them. That can be a tedious game to play and expensive if you are using cans of foam sealant to do the job.
For the boxelder bugs that have already gained access to your home you can easily vacuum them up. Of course, you may have to repeat this task time and time again in order to get ahead of these pests.
I recommend a product called Talstar Pro to treat for boxelder bugs. Carefully read and follow label instructions. You'll want to treat trees, plants and any structure where you see them accumulating. Remember, you will need to get the pesticide down into the ground under the leaves and mulch where they lay their eggs. Treat up the walls of your house as high as you can reach to set up a good control barrier.