How you can win the battle with Boxelder bugs this fall in Minnesota


They’re back … boxer bugs have invaded Minnesota once again. Here’s how to keep them from bothering you too much this fall!

If your home is like ours in Northwest Rochester, it has been inundated with a barrage of these black and red flying insects. Yes, the boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittatus, if you’re all scientists) are back this fall and have shown themselves with a vengeance across Minnesota.

Why are there so many boxelder bugs in Minnesota this year?

For expert advice on these biennial bugs (okay, I don’t know if they’re actually biennial – meaning they appear every two years – but they seem to be worse than any other the few years, right?) I checked with the University of Minnesota extension office.

They said that while boxelder bugs aren’t a problem every year, they seem to be abundant in years with hot, dry summers followed by a hot fall. Which has been the case this year.

So, are boxelder insects poisonous?

Fortunately, no, boxelder bugs aren’t poisonous, but they have a bad odor when crushed and taste bitter if your pets bite or eat one. They do not cause property damage, although they can stain surfaces. They love warm areas and are drawn to buildings with a lot of south or west exposure, which makes the front and side of our house and garage prime targets.

So what can you do about them?

U of M says the best prevention is to keep them out of your home. They say to make repairs to openings they can enter:

  • Repair or replace damaged window and door screens.
  • Repair or replace damaged screens in roof and soffit vents, and in bathroom and kitchen fans.
  • Seal areas where cables, telephone lines and other utility wires and pipes, outdoor faucets, dryer vents and other objects enter buildings.
  • Seal with caulk or, for large spaces, use spray polyurethane foam, copper mesh or other suitable sealant.
  • Install door sills or thresholds on all exterior entry doors.
  • Install a rubber gasket along the bottom of the garage doors.

What if they enter your home?

If boxelder bugs do enter your home, the U pretty much says your only option is to physically remove them with a vacuum or a broom and dustpan. It is important to note that the U does not recommend using an aerosol insecticide (it is generally not effective and may harm other pollinators) unless you have a very large infestation – and you you will probably want to call professional service.

Boxelder bedbugs are just one of those pests that are native here in Minnesota. Fortunately, not all native insects and animals are – some, in fact, are quite handy. Did you know that there are several animals native to Minnesota that can predict the weather? Keep scrolling to check them out!

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KEEP READING: 10 Minnesota Animals That Can Predict the Weather

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