Box Elder Bugs are Everywhere: Are They Harmful?

box elder bugsBox elder bugs are known as nuisance pests. The black bugs with wings that are lined with red reproduce at a very fast rate which can lead to an infestation in no time. Dealing with a box elder bug infestation can be bothersome, but is the pest actually harmful to you, your home, or your yard? Keep reading to find out.

Humans and Animals

Luckily humans and animals do not have to worry about being harmed by box elder bugs. Box elders do not sting or transmit any sort of diseases. There have been a few rare reports of people being bitten by box elder bugs when the pest feels threatened but they are not poisonous in any way and do not leave any long-lasting effects on the individual. They also have an unpleasant scent that may be noticeable, however, they are completely harmless to humans and animals other than that their quick infestations can easily startle, discomfort, and frustrate residents.


One of the main reasons why people loathe box elder bugs so much is because they often seek warmth in homes during the cooler months, which can easily create an infestation. They get into homes through small openings around windows, doors, ceiling lights, vents, outdoor faucets, small cracks and crevices in the foundation, or any other openings in your home. Box elder bugs generally don’t cause serious damage to homes but, especially when found in large numbers, they may stain walls, curtains, furniture and other areas of the home with their excrement.


Box elder bugs can be rather destructive to yards and gardens. They most commonly feed and reproduce on female box elder trees (hence their name) but they may also feed on maple, ash, and fruit trees. This can lead to fruit and leaf deformities and a yellow discoloration. They also can cause damage to flowers and twigs so taking action when an infestation is apparent in your yard may be necessary. Learn more on box elder bugs and other bugs that can ruin your yard.

Getting Rid of Them

Although box elder bugs are not very harmful, it’s still not an enjoyable experience when they take over your home or yard. For box elder bug control and prevention, follow these steps:

  • Use a vacuum to get rid of the current ones and dispose of the vacuum bag quickly. Do not squash the bugs because they have an unpleasant scent and can stain your carpet.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices to prevent them from entering your home.
  • Install screens for your doors and windows and repair any tears
  • Remove wood stacks, leaf piles, and overgrown plants near your home to eliminate any possible shelters
  • If you have a female box elder tree, consider removing it or keeping the ground below it clean by removing seedpods

To fully eliminate box elder bugs, contact a pest control professional.


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