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Box Elder Bugs: The Red Black Beetle Menace

Red Black Beetle Menace:
It’s that time of year again here in Wisconsin (and many other places in the United States) where on warm spring or autumn days those pesky red black beetles know as Boxelder Bugs or more accurately  Boxelder Beetles begin collecting into large groups searching for a place to over winter . They don’t bite, but the shear numbers of their swarms are frightening and create a major nuisance. Don’t mistake these beetles with Asian Beetles that look like Ladybugs.

red and black beetle

the Box Elder Bug before it’s soapy demise.

If you have an outdoor pool or bar area, both varieties will attempt to find a crevice in which to spend the winter. They don’t harm structures and perhaps they could act as additional insulation for older homes (grin). Autumn isn’t the only time you’ll see these little critters, they also emerge in the spring time to “do their thing” and reproduce. This is a great time to wipe out the tiny masses of newly hatched beetles.

I’m sure you are wondering how to get rid of those red and black Box Elder Bugs, and if you’ve tried bug spray, you’ve already found that it does not work. They seem immune to the stuff and just keep on crawlin’.

The only way I have found to eliminate them is using an Ortho Sprayer filled with several cups of Dish Soap or  Laundry Detergent. Yup, you read right, liquid dish soap or laundry detergent. Set the sprayer on the 2 oz setting, just so the mixture creates a foam.

kill red abd black bugs

any liquid soap will do, but RAID won’t stop ‘em

For some reason, this concoction will kill them in their tracks. I’d love to know how this really works and I found this by accident while cleaning some garbage cans. At 1 to 2 oz per gallon concentration, the spray does not hurt plants & trees. I told a few people about this and now the whole neighborhood is in on the Box Elder Bug War. As we’ve learned, any cheap liquid dish soap works as will any non-phosphorus laundry detergent. If there are any Entomologists out there that can answer this mystery, feel free to comment.

How it Works: One reply below has shed light as to why a simple soap & water solution will kill them; Apparently these insects breath through tiny holes in the side of their abdomen called spiracles. The soap solution creates a bubble film that effectively plugs air flow to the spiracles and they quickly suffocate. Thanks Ken and Mark T!

dead box elder bugs

kill large numbers of these invading pests and leave your home smelling fresh and clean

Here is the gruesome aftermath of a good detergent wash down. You don’t need the volume of suds shown in the photo, 1 oz per gallon of liquid soap should kill 98% of Box Elder Beetles.

Increase the dosage if needed.
Very effective and leaves a fresh clean scent!

Follow up: If they’ve already made it inside your home, use a small wet / dry shop vac to collect them intruders and place a few cups of soap & water in the collection canister to kill them.  Find the entrance and plug it with liquid spray foam, such as “Great Stuff” or a similar brand.

Be pro-active: In spring and early summer, watch for tiny swarms right after they hatch and soap ‘em down good so they can’t spread, mature and reproduce.
Caulk & Seal: all openings – while this won’t deter the bugs from gathering, it might keep them out of your home.

Have fun “cleaning up”  those pesky bugs!


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  1. It’s spring time, so if you see these bug emerging from their winter hiding places, KILL THEM immediately! That way you will stop them from reproducing into millions of offspring.

  2. Thankfully they’ve been pretty scarce in central Wisconsin, in fact, I’m not seeing many bugs at all this year!

  3. It’s springtime, so start looking for the swarms of tiny box elder bugs and wipe them out with soapy water before they can grow into adults and reproduce. Now is the time to attack!

  4. we are in st. catharines ontario..just north of niagara falls..these buggers were swarmed all over our neighbours tree last year, but guess they decided time for a move and ended up on the back of our home nestled in the cracks of the siding…just tried the soap and water solution and Hallejuia they are dropping like flies..thanks for the tip….

  5. We bought one of those flee traps with the little light bulb in the top and sticky paper on the bottom. These bugs love the light, so they are attracted to it and when they crawl in to get under the light, they get stuck. It’s best if all of the other lights are off. I just counted 13 in there right now

  6. I live in moravia n.y thank god for ur. Solution love whoever said dish soap

  7. winter here , no box elder bugs thank god!

  8. just moved into a rural house in Prince Edward County Ontario they are all over the sliding glass door and windows especially when the sun comes out or the woodstove heats the room up …they seem to become active with the warmth..I’ve also noticed that they seem to swarm on Manitoba Maples in the warmer weather…don’t know why or what they do there….those trees are like weeds and the wood is good for nothin’, hardly even good to burn , maybe someone can find out how to get rid of the trees and the bugs at the same time..they take up space that could be growing real maple trees. Birds don’t seem to eat these bugs, probably they taste bad to them, and I don’t know if they have any natural preditors otherwise…..wonder why I’ve only noticed them recently…..

  9. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! These damn bugs are driving me CRAZY.. I’m going out with that soap mixture right now!!!! I’m getting tired of using the flyswatter !!!!!! Wish Me Luck :)

  10. I live in w. ny and they are crazy here right now. I had no clue what they were til lately. They are attacking my house. Lol

  11. After telling so many people where I live on how to destroy these critters, now I can’t find cheap dish soap anywhere. I usually clean out the dollar general store, but looks like someone beat me to it!

  12. I ended up using Windex, because ammonia kills bugs pretty good too. Killed these things quick. Also my dog won’t go near Windex as the smell is too strong. Probably not good for plants, but I used it on my patio door to kill these buggers.

  13. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada (Milton, ON) and we are seeing this bug for the first time here this fall since we moved here 2 years ago. Last year I saw them in Brampton, ON so I guess it was just a matter of time before they made their way over! I hope we have a long cold winter so we dont see these critters for a while. :( Never thought I’d say that!! On the bright side, the bugs arent seen in as large droves as some folks south of the border have experienced.

  14. These pests have been invading my home and property for three years. The last two years I feel as if I’ve been invaded by aliens…hmm…wasn’t there a Twilight Zone episode like that? Anyways, there are literally thousands of them all over my walls, windows, and door frames, in massive orgy-like clusters. They land in your hair, and get in the house when we open the door. They are much like a “colourful cockroach”, multiplying like crazy and laughing at your inability to do anything about them…until now!
    I used all the terrible toxic cancer causing insecticides and the bugs just smiled at me. I just read this website an hour ago, and I have already successfully won a major battle with a spritzer bottle. Tomorrow, I™m getting my back back sprayer loaded up…planned annihilation. Thanks for a tip that even children can employ safely. Buy stocks in Dawn Dish Detergent…haha.

  15. These things have invaded my house and garage en mass. I have tried all the toxic cancer causing insecticides and these things laugh and thank me for the bath. I think of them as “colorful outdoor cockroaches”. Thanks for an effective remedy that even kids can use safely.

  16. We have these perty bugs all over our sidewalk outback, all over our concrete stairs, up our house, our back door and sometimes we find them on our kitchen floor GRRRRRR !!!! Thanks for the tip on how to get rid of them, we also use very hot water with the soap and they hate it and die QUICKLY :) Thanks again for this advice. We live in Marion, Ohio BTW

  17. THANK YOU!! The local garden center was clueless.

  18. There is no reason to be so upset by box elder beetles — they don’t damage anything hanging out on the outside of your home. If they are getting inside, you have a bigger problem than the beetles. You will need to caulk or otherwise seal any fissures they are using to get in since the same gaps will allow drafts in winter.

    (editors note: obviously written & submitted by a Box Elder Bug – lol)

  19. Thank you for the helpful info!! My fiance and i just caught our first boxelder in its tracks. Now maybe we can prevent the multiplication of these icky little critters!! Much appreciated!!!

  20. OMG!! Thank you soooooo much!! It has literally made my day!! I read this & went straight to killing them ;) I live in Georgia & they’re driving me insane…they’re EVERYWHERE!!!!

  21. Cedar Oil Spray…

    [...]Box Elder Bugs: The Red & Black Beetle Menace | Home Bar Blog[...]…

  22. I live in West Virginia also and my back yard was covered they are all over the side of the house, outbuildings, and trees! They did’nt bother me outside but now that it’s getting cold outside they are trying to take over my house! Today when I was cleaning them out of my windows I found eggs attatched to my shades so they will multiply inside!!! I will definetly try the soap! Thanks everyone for the info! Tired of having the CRITTERS crawling on me I think they migrate towards body heat too!!!!

  23. I just moved into an apartment in southern Ontario, and these beetles were making themselves quite at home inside. They have their own secret entrance or something. I was going around the place like a madperson trying to get them all with a tissue.

    Anyways I stumbled on this site while searching for the name of the things.
    I immediately tried the soap solution (i just squeezed some foam from my dish sponge onto one) and watched in shock and amazement as the thing actually suffocated. Could see bubbles forming on it’s side where it breathes,I felt kinda bad.

    Thanks so much for the tip! Much appreciated!

  24. We are in Georgia and I have just now noticed all these things on our garage and our front door steps. Thanks for the detergent idea and all this useful information! My 10 year old daughter found this site in researching the critters for me! Apparently they are all over the United States!

  25. I’ve got these everywhere on the south side of my house, where the ladybug type bugs came to in the spring/early summer. I think the reason they come has something to do with pheromones left behind. Anyway, I bought a can of Dollar Store bug spray and it’s been killing them. I spray it into the areas they gather, and it kills them dead. I’ve got hundreds of bug corpses on my back porch now. Even when I spray just one on the siding, it falls and dies shortly thereafter. If something else happens (run out of bug spray) I’ll try the water & dish soap method as well.

  26. Angela in North Liberty
    Tuesday 4 October 2011, 2:43 pm

    This really works, my Preschooler likes to help spray them too. This is more cost efficient than having to pay an exterminator, who would probably just use pesticides.

  27. Robert from Lafayette Indiana
    Monday 3 October 2011, 5:32 pm

    Thank you thank you I have tried it all and thought I was going to have to call the pros in, your posting helped me out and saved me some cash, thank you

  28. I love your wp theme, exactly where do you down load it through?

  29. We have had these bugs here in Eastern Ontario for the past 2 yrs and it is wild to see so many in a giant mass. But I have a bug spray that does kill them within 10 minutes just awesome.

  30. I live in portland ,oregon,and I just tried your solution,now I didi this in the morning when the bugs are not as noticeable because the sun hasn,t come out but for few I could find it worked great+ I sprayed any bug I could find and IT killed flys, spiders and who knows what the bugs were,obviously means we don,t have to spend all that $ on insectisides I guess our ansesters were right about finding simple solutions to lifes problems

  31. WOW….this really worked, just tried it. My grocery store had some off brand of dish soap marked down to .29 cents, it worked great. I tend to overkill things when mixing so I’m sure when it rains my house will be all bubbly. lol Oh well I don’t care I killed what I saw and will wait a bit and go out there again with my new weapon. Thanks to the person who posted this.

  32. Thank you, thank you for the quick and easy fix. These bugs are relentless, and they like to fly onto you too. That way they can get in the house. It worked great, they are extemely tenacious bugs. My aunt has vinyl siding, boy did they get a rude awakening. Bless you!!

  33. Don’t worry Janet, it will work!

  34. Thought I was going to FLIP OUT….can’t stand bugs…..I’m a Yankee living in North Georgia and never seen such a bug. Neighbor who has been in Georgia his whole life had no clue…Home Depot same thing. I tried Miatholon and then kept crawling….Home Depot was shocked. I always heard about dish soap…cheapest and safest for plants. Can’t wait to go out there and battle these buggers in AM….They are crawling on my house….I thought they were from the pine straw that was just delivered???? But no matter where they came from…sounds like they are infesting the country…thanks for the help…dish soap better be the answer!

  35. I live in Georgia and they showed up on the side of my house last year. This year they are back in the thousands. They are also in the pine straw mulch. I’m going to give the detergent remedy a shot. Hope it works.

  36. Thanks so much, will try this. I believe we got ours with the pine needle mulch we put in the garden and under the trees. We are in NC, so I guess they are travelling south.

  37. I am down south in Louisiana and have a red mulched area around my mailbox that is completely infested. Thanks for the tip!

  38. I’m in Texas and just found an infestation in my front yard. Thank you so much for the tip. I think they were in my neighbors yard a couple of years ago. Don’t know why it took them so long to make it over here, but here’s where it ENDS! Muhahaha! (evil laugh)

  39. Scrubbing Bubbles by SC Johnson also works really well.

  40. Thanks for the tip. I wondered what these little pesks were. We have tried bug spray to no avail. We decided since they did not cause harm, we almost felt bad killing them. However, they are so bad this year (we live in NY along Lake Erie) they will just have to go.

  41. Using a Rainbow Vacuum cleaner to suck them up inside your house works great. The Rainbow uses water to filter dirt, dust and yes beetles out of the air (NO Bags). I just flush them away after each cleaning with No beetle smell left behind. Works great.

  42. The cheaper the soap the better. I buy mine at the dollar store, for you guessed it, a dollar. 1 oz per gallon flow rate does the trick. Just enough to whip up a light lather.

  43. The walmart brand dish soap did just fine in a spray bottle.. outside and in!

    Thanks for posting this!

  44. Okay, thanks Heather – I’ll give it a shot!

    It’s so weird… it’s like they appear out of nowhere. Anyways… I WILL WIN!!! Haha

  45. were in southern ontario thats in Canada by the way lol!!!!! we have them really bad up here thanks for the tip ive tried everything now the genocide begins

  46. Just moved to Wisconsin from Indiana in August and saw them for the first time right after we moved. There were hundreds clustered on a tree at a pumpkin patch we took the kids to and it creeped me out to no end. The house we’re buying seems to be attracting them and I sought solace and a remedy here on the net. Thanks so much for the soap/water solution.
    As for those asking about getting rid of the ones inside your house, the most effective way, as stated somewhere above is to use your vacuum/shop vac/dustbuster and vacuum them up and dump them in to a soap water solution to kill them so they don’t breed. As far as getting them out of your vents, my only suggestion is to either wait them out and vacuum them up as they come out, or have someone from an AC company come clean out your vents and do a once or twice over in your house with your vacuum.

  47. Any ideas on how to get them out of the heating vents inside the house?

    (I mean without dumping detergent down the vents, lol) ???

  48. UGH!! We are infested with these damn things. We’re in Upstate NY and they are much worse than last year when we first noticed them. I’ll will definitely be trying the soap mixture. We live in an old house (1890) so there’s lots of cracks for them to get in. The situation has really become intolerable.

  49. I have them here in Northern Indiana too. Just tried the soap and water and it worked. I’ll have to go out and try it for a few days in a row and see how far that gets me!

  50. thanks for the tip> I live in Michigan and just today i walked out and there had to be 1000′s on the brick on the bottom of the house-(i have crawl space). This is the earliest i’ve seen them- but i sprayed them with dish soap and the piles of bugs were dead within minutes.

  51. Im here in southern ontario, close to detroit mi. and the last few years ive been seeing alot of these little suckers, this years bad . so thanks alot now i know what they are called and hopefully how to deal with them. By the way i agree with tha tother Mark fella —–what a nut job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Oh and also the holes they breathe through in the side of their thorax is called spiricals. One of the few things i remember from high school —-lol

  52. We have had the infestation of these bugs for the past two years. They were clustering around the the backdoor and on the patio. Last evening, I used the soap and water, within 5 minutes a few hundred bugs were crawling out from under the siding and jumping into the solution and gone within a few minutes. I did it again today and still had at least 50 do the same thing. Thank you from Johnson City, TN.

  53. YOU are my hero! I am in NC and for some reason these bugs live only in this one corner outside of my condo (noone else’s). They LITERALLY drive me crazy and I have been on a killing spree for the past two years. I was so excited to see your solution and I couldn’t get outside fast enough to try it. No doubt…it worked! Thanks so much for restoring my sanity. :)

  54. My comment is a question: we have been squishing these bugs all winter long. Is there a way to eliminate them from the house in the winter utilizing your detergent method? Also, will they move outside in the summer? Thank you for your help.

  55. We have them in Windsor, CT. I asked people and even went to Home Depot and they could not tell me what they were, but provided me with an Ortho product that killed them, I will try the soap if I see them again.

  56. We have them in northern NY also, i can’t stand them, they give me the willies, i had a warm day and i went to open the glass sliding doors, and it was covered with them ugh, my granddaughter and i sucked them up in the vaccum. gives me the creeps.

  57. I have box elder tree in my yard (a tree with the helicopter dropping leaves). I’m thinking about getting rid of the tree because they are attracted to the tree. Summer was tough they were everywhere dropping from the tree to covering the house were every the sun was shining. I live in Upstate NY. I have been infested for the last 3 years.

  58. I use Dawn dishwashing detergent. Dawn has a surfactent quality that coat them without having to foam. we use it in the fire department to fight chemical fires also.

  59. This is a sure fire fix for those nasties. I tried to use Sevin insect killer and they turned around and looked at me, laughed, and continued to crawl around my house. I used this recipe and was vacuuming them up by the dozens.
    Thanks for the fix. Now my girls can play outside without being grossed out.

  60. Dishsoap & Water in a spray bottle worked great for me too – sprayed directly on the bugs.
    HOWEVER, even though these are all over my neighbourhood (in Brantford, ON Canada), there seems to be a lot more on my house. Coincidentally, I am the only one attempting to get rid of them…
    Is it possible that as they die, they give off a scent or something, so that their friends come too???

  61. I was so glad to find this page. I’ve never seen these bugs before, but about a month ago they started showing up on the side of my house.
    Like the op, I tried sprays, with little result, but the soap & water thing – works great (and I confess, I mix it a little heavy, I want to make sure the little buggers suffocate). Thank you.

  62. Raid won’t work on these buggers – only the soap & water mixture seems to work by quickly suffocating them.

  63. Just moved to Arnprior Ontario. Never seen these bugs but were in mating like fiends in July, now there are clumps of red things (eggs) everywhere, especially in a hug Manitoba maples. Used Raid and is seemed effective but expensive. Will try the dishsoap. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  64. PS….
    Some are under the impression that they can just spray the house and kill the bugs, the soap methode MUST be sprayed directly on the bugs….. It will not kill any returning bug.

  65. THAY!, Thith workths Thwell!

    I find you don’t need allot of soap to do the trick, I go on a daily hunt to find where they congregate…..Millions gone every day….
    This only works at the time of spraying them, for a more permanent solution go to the feed store and ask to search the bug spray MSDS sheets carried by the supplier and look for a product containing the primary ingredient Deltamethrin, of course it is toxic but so are the bugs (admin says, no, the bugs are not chemically toxic, just mentally toxic)…..this should continue to kill them for a longer period, supposedly a year¦.


  66. THAY!, Thith workths Thwell!

    I find you don’t need allot of soap to do the trick, I go on a daily hunt to find where they congregate…..Millions gone every day….
    This only works at the time of spraying them, for a more permanent solution go to the feed store and ask to search the bug spray MSDS sheets carried by the supplier and look for a product containing the primary ingredient Deltamethrin, of course it is toxic but so are the bugs…..this should continue to kill them for a longer period, supposedly a year¦.


  67. We’ve got them in Boston too. Ugly little things. The soap works wonders. I’ve been using a bucket and cup. I will go out and get the Ortho spayer so I can cover larger areas. We haven’t had them long so I think we have a good shot of eliminating them.

  68. We live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This is the first I’ve ever heard of these bugs. I saw them this morning swarming my yard! I found this site and followed the advice! I used one or two squirts of Dawn Pure Essentials in a 5 gallon bucket of water from the garden hose. Then I just splashed everything with it. Walk, house,drive, grass, trees, plants etc. They died by the hundreds. Thank you so much for the great advice!

  69. If mixed properly, you don’t have to wait long, maybe 30 seconds to a minute. They choke pretty fast.

  70. I am in Virginia and I have lived in my house for over a year and last year we did not have this problem but this year they are coming out in big numbers I was constantly spraying my poarch off but they would come right back…thanks for this article we tried the soap yesterday and just waiting to see if it’s effective!

  71. It’s spring time in Wisconsn and if you look closely you’ll find those Box Elder Bugs are “Gettin Busy” fornicating in leaf and mulch piles usually in sunny locations. Stomp their nasty little guts out now by spraying the horny little devils down with your soap mixture and you will proactively stop hundreds of thousands of them from ever being born.

    In a few weeks you’ll see the newly hatched offspring as small red squirming masses. If you look closely, you’ll see that it is actually thousands of babies getting ready to leave the nest. Hose ‘em down now! War is Hell, ain’t it?

  72. Im going to try that today I have so many its crazy. When you walk in the house they come in with you. When we take the trash out their on your clothes its a mess. I almost got bug spray so now Im going to hold off on that and try the soap. I hope it works cause Im getting to the point I want to move. In oct its lady bugs and in the summer time its these bugs.

  73. I learned that it worked very well on yellow jackets if anyone has problems with them. Put a mixture of the soap solution with some Mt Dew or other soda in a small open container/plastic bowl. The yellow jackets will be attracted to that instead of your picnic or BBQ, will start to eat from it and they die then and there.
    Here is some info on why soap may work from Colorado State University:
    Hope this helps

  74. Amazing. used a spray bottle and generic dish soap.. started spraying and they started coming out (and dying) by the hundreds!

  75. We rent a place as well and the main reason we rented was because of the big fenced in yard for the kids. Well they are too scared to be out there because of the bugs flying everyone. They always seem to smack me in the face. We did the soap thing and got rid of what seemed like a million. Then winter came and now winter is almost over and wouldn’t you know it they are back. Must be early hatchers so I am gonna hose it down again. The landlord has cut all the trees down so it must be a neighboring house, but my entire deck and house and patio door were covered in them last year. Trying desperately to avoid it happening again this year. I put regular dawn dish soap in a couple of squirt bottles and water and let the kids squirt away then I finish the job with a hose. It does work. I guess I was just hoping for a more permanent solution.

  76. We rent a place as well and the main reason we rented was because of the big fenced in yard for the kids. Well they are too scared to be out there because of the bugs flying everyone. They always seem to smack me in the face. We did the soap thing and got rid of what seemed like a million. Then winter came and now winter is almost over and wouldn’t you know it they are back. Must be early hatchers so I am gonna hose it down again. The landlord has cut all the trees down so it must be a neighboring house, but my entire deck and house and patio door were covered in them last year. Trying desperately to avoid it happening again this year. I put regular dawn dish soap in a couple of squirt bottles and water and let the kids squirt away then I finish the job with a hose. It does work. I guess I was just hoping for a more permanent solution.

  77. we rented this house and there was’nt that many bugs until the summer came and they were every ware i ask the land lord what kind spray to use and she told me but thats not working so i am going to try the soap. hope it works.

  78. we rented this house and there was’nt that many bugs until the summer came and they were every ware i ask the land lord what kind spray to use and she told me but thats not working so i am going to try the soap. hope it works.

  79. there’s always one nut job out there….;^D

  80. dishsoap abuse commity
    Saturday 16 January 2010, 9:18 am

    dont kill the elders, they are peaceful. if they are coming inside in mass, find their entrance and block it and let them stay outside or where they were…
    killing that many elder souls mite set off some voodoo..
    while promoting violence with soap will surely seal your deal~


  81. Glad to find this! We have them in our home in Colorado now! I have seem them years ago, but wanted to see what they are called. Thanks for the remedies!

  82. I have been killing these critters all year and wiped out some huge swarms of the tiny newborns this spring, so this fall I haven’t had as bad a problem with them, but they are still pretty bad. I switched to lemon JOY dish soap that I buy for $1.00 per bottle at the local dollar store. Dawn or any other liquid soap will work. For those worried about plant or environmental damage, just be sure the soap is a non-phosphorus variety, which most are. The ORTHO sprayer connected to your garden hose does a great job and clears large areas in seconds. Set it to 2 oz per gallon or just until the spray creates suds. It has never killed trees, grass or shrubs (arbor vitae) so get out and kill those little bastards!

  83. UPSTATE NY and they are here too! Seem to “Swarm” in the warmest room, the living room with the pellet stove. We have a 250 yr old house and there are so many gaps. I will try this and let everyone know. Fingers crossed!

  84. Glad to find this article. We are all way in Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. My Cottonwood tree and side of our deck was infested with them. I tried insecticidal soap, which was effective on some, but not so environmentally friendly. I’m happy to find that simple soap and water will do away with these bugs. Hoping now they won’t find their way into the house.

  85. It says in the article “1 to 2 oz per gallon”.
    So just grab a shot glass and use two shot glasses for each gallon of water. All you need is enough to make foam. The foam suffocates the little bastards within seconds. I assume you are using a pump sprayer?


  87. Can someone give me a good idea of how much detergent to use in a gallon of water….. I am infested with these bugs from hell…. No professional exterminator is worth the money

  88. They are in Oklahoma as well! I noticed a couple and before I knew it there were hundreds in my backyard. I’m going to go kill them now!

  89. I live in Idaho and when I was a kid we had a tree that was always covered with them. As an adult, I moved back into that childhood house for a while and they were still there and going strong. They swarm all over the outside walls but we had very few indoors. We would go to the biggest group and smash as many as we could at once. They would flee but after a short time more would be back and we’ld do it again. It was very messy but seemed to be effective after a while. This is good info because we never could get all of them. I just wanted to let everyone know that Idaho has them, too.

  90. We’re new here in Barron, Wisconsin and the oustide of our house was COVERED in HORDES of these black and red bugs. I remembered them from childhood in North Dakota and told my husband that I thought they were called Box Bugs. Boy, was he happy when he found this site! He rapidly threw together an empty spray bottle with Dawn dishsoap and water and went to town. Nothing amuses a guy like killing mass amounts of insects in a matter of seconds.

  91. I have them here in Pittsburgh. And as everyone has said, they are almost impossible to get rid of. Superbugs, if you will? I also found that mixing Ortho bug killer that is plant friendly works also. It is in heavy doses. But Raid and other things seem not to work. Has anyone found something that they will carry to the nest and kill the pack?

    I like the detergent idea..I will try

  92. I live in Sacramento, California. We have had pest control here 3 times, does no good. These beetles are everywhere!! 2 diiferent sizes of small ones and the adults everywhere.

  93. I’m in WV and these bugs were bad a few years ago and then I didn’t see them for a while. well this year they’re back and bad as ever!

  94. Wow! I am pretty far away from you guys. Im all the was in Oregon. I had been trying to figure out what these beetles were. We got them about 2 or 3 years ago and they have been a huge pain. They are everywere and get inside all the time. Thank you for you tip. Ill be sure to try it out

  95. Holy moly. Glad you gave a solution. I’ll stock up on some soap.

  96. We have Box Elders down south as well though it doesn’t seem to be quite as bad as you guys and gals have it in Wisconsin. The soap generally suffocates the bugs.

  97. They’ve moved south, we have them in Cincinnati and have for the past two years. We’re going to clean these suckers now…literally.

  98. Insects breath through little holes in their sides. The soap solution stops up these breathing holes and the insect dies from lack of air. Any soap residue on the leaves of the plants will make any chewing insect have a very bad stomach ache until it rains and washes the soaap off,

  99. I have so many of these that I will try anything

  100. Does anyone know if this would be effective in the yard? I have them all over my property, on the ground. They fly in the air. I have livestock, and am wondering if this would be safe to spray on trees and areas where horses could possibly graze on. I also have cats. Have had many exterminators out, unfortunately, they either won’t spray grounds, or it doesn’t work. Am concerned about spraying anything that might harm animals. Help please

  101. I have an indoor infestation of Box Elder Beetles. After reading the information published here, I decided to try the cures offered.

    Regarding laundry detergent: Any brand will probably do the job. I used the cheapest thing I had in the house, a no name brand, totally generic. Results: The beetles, when dropped into a solution of water and detergent died within approximately 30-40 seconds.

    I also tried Simple Green. The results were the same, but more expensive.

    After testing detergent, I tried dish washing liquid. I used Sun and Earth, an organic, non harmful to the environment product. It worked as well as the detergents. This product is safe to dispose of into the garden, or on the lawn. It is environmentally friendly.

    My tests were conducted by the immersion technique. I don’t know what the ratio of water to product used would be for spraying.

    As to having these pests in the home: This isn’t for everyone, but I have been hand picking them from the window area where they congregate, and from the floor, plus any other surface I can reach. I had been squashing in a tissue, but not being squeamish about these things, I just started pinching them between my fingers. It’s a very fast thing; they are gone before they know what’s hit them. After trying the liquid solution, I am keeping a container handy in areas where they congregate, and just dropping them into it.

    Obviously you don’t store the corpses. I just fish them out after a catch of 10 or so. As I mentioned, I’m not squeamish.

    By the way, I haven’t noticed any foul odor from hand killing them. The more of these things you kill in your home, the greater your advantage you will be in controlling future indoor generations. I am dealing with two sets of young now.

  102. I have these in my home! They were coming up in drove in teh spring and I tried to get them all but they have made it in and I am tryign to find a way to get rid of them. You are DEAD ON about the laundry detergent. In my basement by the washe ron the floor today I saw several dead ones where I had spilled some detergent!

  103. Having a real nasty problem with them this year, in the countryside north of Madison. Trying everything to get rid of these bastards, but my house was built in the 70s so theres a few gaps where they can get into my house and I can’t do a lot about it. Any thoughts on dealing with them once they come inside?

  104. Box Elder bugs seems to have years when they are really bad and appear in large numbers, while other years they are rarely seen.
    The years 2006 and 2007 were very bad for us in central Wisconsin, but 2008 has been much better. The Asian Ladybug also seems to run in cycles.
    It’s either due to weather conditions or a general breeding cycle.

  105. Thank you so much for this tip we have been dealing with these bugs for 2 yrs now and they just cover the side of the house and the garage. We have tried everything and this has worked great.

  106. Thank you for the information…We have billions of these things on our property,so…I am assuming that we will smell like a laundermat for awhile.

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