Answer: Boxelder bugs are harmless, except to boxelder trees, and the population may have soared because of a lack of predators. Chances are that either this year or next the populations will naturally fall back to tolerable levels. You can control boxelder bugs with a homemade spray, which consists of about 1/2 cup of a laundry detergent in one gallon of water applied by a hand sprayer or squirt bottle directly on the boxelder bugs as often as necessary. The soap mixtures kills only the bugs sprayed, but does not prevent others from coming to the site. Test the mixture first on an inconspicuous spot before application as it might adversely affect tender plants such as rose leaves. Applications of acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin) or chlorpyrifos (Dursban) are effective, as well. Be sure to read the label and apply according to label directions.
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