How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs Outside With Dawn Soap

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The pursuit for warmth as the hot summer months usher the cooler months may lead boxelder bugs to your home. Commonly known as box bugs, boxelder bugs are exceptionally problematic in fall and spring.

While these bugs are not dangerous and aren’t known to damage vegetation, their mere presence is annoying. They tend to emit an unpleasant stench and congregate in massive swarms. Therefore, should boxelder bugs decide to take a winter vacation in your home, it would be best to be prepared to eliminate them.

A quick solution you could employ is using dawn soap to get rid of boxelder bugs. This guide explores how to get rid of boxelder bugs outside with dawn soap.

Are Boxelder Bugs Harmful?

How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs Outside With Dawn Soap


Boxelder bugs are mostly harmless to humans as they don’t sting or bite, and they don’t transmit diseases. That’s the good news. However, their presence can become a real nuisance, particularly when they invade your home in significant numbers, seeking warmth during colder months.

They give off an ominous vibe as they congregate in large numbers on walls or trees. Their sheer numbers and tendency to gather in inconvenient places can become a significant annoyance, hence the importance of getting rid of them.

What Attracts Boxelder Bugs?

a) Warmth

Boxelder bugs are drawn to the warmth and shelter buildings provide during cooler seasons, especially as temperatures drop in the fall and winter. Warm surfaces, such as sunlit walls, rocks, or buildings, help them regulate their body temperature.

This attraction to warmth often leads them to congregate on the sunny sides of structures or around areas where heat escapes, such as gaps in windows, doors, or walls. When fall comes, boxelder bugs may start seeking places to stay during winter, which may include inside cracks and crevices.

Moreover, these bugs can find their way inside your home through small openings, cracks, or gaps in doors, windows, or walls as the warmth escaping from your home entices them.

b) Specific Trees

Boxelders will also find certain areas favorable because of certain trees. They are particularly drawn to boxelder, maple, and ash trees, as they feed on the seeds, leaves, and flowers of these tree varieties.

The presence of these trees in an area can significantly attract and sustain populations of boxelder bugs, as they find a food source and suitable habitat among them.

As a result, if your property has these trees nearby, it might increase the likelihood of encountering boxelder bugs, especially during their feeding seasons.

How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs Outside With Dawn Soap

How To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs Outside With Dawn Soap

Before providing the steps for preparing a boxelder bug killer from Dawn soap, you would probably like to know how this remedy kills these bugs. The soap solution coats their bodies, clogging their respiratory system, causing death.  

Ingredients and Materials

  • 2 Tablespoons of Dawn dish soap
  • Water (1 Gallon)
  • Spray bottle

Steps Of Getting Rid Of Boxelder Bugs Outside With Dawn Soap

1. Prepare the Solution

  • Put water into a spray bottle that’s appropriate in size for the solution you want to make but don’t fill it to the brim because you need room for the soap.
  • Add Dawn dish soap into the water-filled spray bottle, then shake, shake, shake!
  • Mix the solution gently to prevent too many suds from forming. Aim for a balanced mixture of soap and water.

2. Spray Affected Areas

Directly spray the boxelder bugs with the soapy solution your made. Look for spots where boxelder bugs congregate outdoors, which commonly include walls, windows, entry points, and sunny surfaces where bugs gather. This treatment will only work through direct contact.


People say adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar delivers great results! However, make sure you avoid spraying your plants, as it could lead to their demise.

Apply the solution late in the evening or early morning when the bugs are typically less active. Although Dawn soap is generally mild and safe for most surfaces, test a small area first to ensure the solution doesn’t damage surfaces.

Other Ways To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs

Ways To Get Rid Of Boxelder Bugs

Dawn soap solution is not the only effective remedy against boxelder bugs. So, let’s explore other ways to eliminate these annoying bugs.

A) Seal Entry Points

Thoroughly inspect the outer perimeter of your home, checking for possible entry points that boxelder bugs might use to gain access. Check around windows, doors, utility pipes, vents, and any other openings leading inside.

Apply a bead of caulk along the edges of windows, door frames, and any gaps around utility pipes or vents where bugs might enter. Also, apply weather stripping around doors and windows that have gaps when closed.

Moreover, repair or replace the window or door screens to prevent bugs from entering through these openings. Additionally, cover any cracks on your home’s foundation with caulking or concrete filler.

B) Bring Out Your Vacuum

Connect your vacuum cleaner and hose then use it to suck up the boxelder bugs gently. Do this carefully to avoid crushing the bugs, as this can release an unpleasant odor.

After vacuuming the bugs, promptly remove the the vacuum bag or canister contents to keep the boxelder bugs from escaping. After successfully sucking up the boxelder, clean the area with soapy water or an all-purpose solution.

C) Remove Attractive Habitats

Do you have boxelder, maple, and ash trees growing in or near your home? If yes, consider pruning or removing them to reduce the population of boxelder bugs in the vicinity.

Also, since Boxelder bugs feed on leaf litter, fallen fruits, and debris, keep your yard clean to discourage them from congregating.

Also, keep your lawn well-trimmed and tidy. Furthermore, seal cracks and gaps around your home to keep boxelder from finding places conducive for sheltering.

D) Insecticides

If you do not mind a bit of chemical use, find insecticides specifically labeled for boxelder bugs, then apply them to areas where these bugs congregate. Insecticides may come in liquid, dust, or aerosol forms.

Follow the provided instructions when using these chemicals.

F) Essential Oils

You can ward off boxelder bugs with some essential oils that these bugs find repulsive. A popular deterrent you should consider is mint. You can also opt for peppermint oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, citrus oil, clove oil, or eucalyptus oil.

Mix water and some essential in a spray bottle, then shake well to ensure the oil and water mix well. After that, spray the solution directly on surfaces, focusing on areas where boxelder bugs tend to gather or enter your home.

Reapply the spray regularly, especially after rain or if the scent fades, as these oils can dissipate over time.

G) Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Sprinkle a thin layer of food-grade DE in areas where you’ve noticed boxelder bugs or where they are likely to travel. Apply with a duster or tiny scoop to achieve an even application. While diatomaceous earth is generally safe, apply it sparingly in areas inaccessible to pets and children.

Final Remarks

Dawn soap is a surprisingly effective ally in the battle against boxelder bugs. This simple yet potent formula offers a natural and safe solution against these pesky critters. However, although Dawn soap offers a straightforward remedy, fortify your defense against boxelder bugs by combining it with other preventive measures. These include sealing entry points and reducing attractive habitats.

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