Most people think boxelder bugs are a Fall problem in Illinois, but if you're not careful, you may have to deal with them all year long.

Battling Boxelder Bugs in Illinois

As a child I remember the back of our house being COVERED with boxelder bugs every Fall, and maybe that is why I have always assumed boxelders are just a problem in the Fall. This winter, however, I learned that if you don't take proper precautions you'll have to kill these annoying insects all year long.


Long story short, we have a boxelder problem in my house, especially in our basement. I have found both dead and alive boxelder bugs in my washer and dryer, in our kitchen, in our bathrooms...everywhere, and I am beyond over it.

We don't have a boxelder tree in our yard and we never had to deal with this problem in previous years, so what gives?!?

The problem, (which should have been obvious), is cracks.

When Do Boxelder Bugs Typically Emerge in Illinois?

The boxelder life span goes like this;

In the spring they lay eggs in trees or on leaves, in the summer the nymphs hatch and go through a series of molts and turn into adults. In the fall adult boxelder bugs begin looking for warm places to spend the winter, and that is when our problems began.


Basically, boxelder bugs are attracted to heat and water so our basement looked like a very cozy place to spend the winter. I don't know what they ate or where they came from (many of them were NOT laying dormant), and I don't care. When it got warm enough to do so, my husband went out and filled cracks around our basement windows and dryer vent, which helped immensely.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Boxelder Bugs

Besides filling cracks in your home's foundation and around your windows, there are a few more easy things you can do this Spring to prevent boxelder bug infestations.


First let's cover how to get of the bugs that are already in your home.

According to one pest management website, the one thing you SHOULDN'T do to boxelder bugs in your home is squish it!

Like stink bugs, they let off a nasty odor, and if you've got a lot of the bugs in your home you will quickly create a stinky mess. (I concur, this statement is true).

When it comes to removing them, vacuuming, spraying them with a dishsoap/water mix, or sprinkling them with Borax is the best way to get rid of them.

Natural Ways to Prevent Boxelder Bugs

Soon it will be planting season in Illinois, and did you know boxelder bugs hate the smell of mums?!?

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Spring is the best time to plant mums to enjoy in the Fall, and planting them along your home's foundation will deter boxelder bugs from thinking your basement is a good place to hibernate this fall.

Boxelder bugs also hate the smell of citrus and some herbs like sage, cloves, and lavender, so plant a lot of it, or at the very least, wipe those types of oils along your home's foundation and windows!

H/T EcoGuard Pest Management 

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