We’ve had more than just a pesky monster problem at our home recently. And this problem is much less fun to resolve. During the fall, the front of our house is a MAGNET for box elder bugs. Not only is it north facing, but it also has cedar siding. These two factors are basically a box elder bug’s dream! But I’m happy to report that we successfully learned how to get rid of box elder bugs outside our home, and the best part is that they didn’t come back!
Before going through all the remedies we’ve tried, let me first clarify the issue with the buggars. Boxelder bugs don’t bite or sting. They don’t damage our siding. But they’re a huge nuisance. They like to sunbath on our front door and our garage. I’m not talking about a bug or two. I’m talking about GOBS of box elder bugs. Every time I open the garage, a dozen or so buzz into our van and annoy us for the whole car ride. And since they congregate in such large quantities on our front door, they make it impossible to have our screen door open or even receive guests through our door. They buzz into the house each time the door gets opened. They also leave a red residue on our screen door and occasionally on our interior walls. Lastly, they stink in large quantities, and our front hall reeks.
So, the bugs needed to go. We started with the least extreme remedy first: the hose. I would go outside a couple of times a day and spray the front of our house down. The bugs would disperse, but come back within an hour or two.
Next attempt: the shop vac. We love this shop vac for all sorts of jobs, but it was quickly clear that the shop vac was no match for box elders. I would go out a few times a day and vacuum the front of our house. Within an hour they would be back in the same quantity! It was as if I hadn’t even vacuumed!
DIY Pest Control
Still determined to beat the bugs, I researched chemical options. I came across a number of positive reviews on Amazon for a product called Defense-SC.
The great thing about it is it is odorless, safe for pets and kids, and you can spray it almost anywhere including beds. It takes care of a range of pests including box elders, ants, japanese beetles, hornets, spiders and many others. So, I bit the bullet and purchased the pint size along with a garden sprayer. It was almost a $50 investment, gulp!
Good news: It was $50 well spent! I mixed up the solution and sprayed the entire front of our house (including the garage), and by the time my son was up from his nap, we had a 1/2 inch thick perimeter of dead boxelder bugs on the ground. Gross, but amazing!!!
How to Apply Pest Control
I used .75mL of Defense-SC per gallon of water per the bottle’s instructions. You add half the water, then the solution, then the other half of the water. Pump the garden sprayer, and off you go! I sprayed the front of our house fully – twice – to use up the full application. I made sure to carefully spray the threshold by our front door, which was their favorite spot to loiter. The other nice thing about this product is how easy it is to dispense. No mess!
Now, for the best part: we saved over $100 by doing the pest control ourselves. According to Angie’s List (and the couple of companies coming door-to-door in our neighborhood), a one time pest control application in our area costs $170. Yikes! We have enough of our pesticide left to last many, many more applications. Good thing too, because we’re also seeing damage from Japanese beetles (they also hang out in the front of our house, and decimated our peony) and carpenter ants (they damaged our deck over the years, but have been a little less persistent since we painted our deck).
Next on our list of pesky problems to resolve: the buckthorn in our backyard! Stay tuned 🙂
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