Where Are These Stinkbugs Coming From?

Where Are These Stinkbugs Coming From?

As the weather warms up overwintering pests will begin to wake up and make their way outdoors. One of these is the brown marmorated stinkbug. While these household pests don’t sting, bite, or carry any diseases, they can become a nuisance when they get inside your home. In fact, once you see stinkbugs inside, it’s usually too late to do anything to keep them out.

The brown marmorated stinkbug is native to Asia but was later introduced in the United States. They prefer moist, temperate climates like those of the Eastern US and the Pacific Northwest. Stinkbugs feed on soybeans, corn, fruit, vegetables, and ornamental plants that grow close to homes. Stinkbugs spend the spring and summer seasons outdoors then will seek shelter from the winter elements indoors – often entering your home through cracks, crevices, gaps or holes in your foundation, through chimneys, air conditioning vents, or underneath siding. The prefer homes with lots of trees around and will gravitate to the upper floors of a home.

During the winter months, stinkbugs go into a phase known as diapause, which is similar to hibernation, where the bugs go inactive during the cold weather. When the stinkbugs find a spot to overwinter, they release a pheromone that attracts other stinkbugs to their location. While they typically stay dormant until spring, unusually warm spells during the winter can bring them out full force.

If you encounter stinkbugs in your home, the best way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up and immediately dispose of the bag. When stinkbugs are threatened, disturbed, or squashed, they emit a smell that has been described as anything from cilantro to rotting almonds to spoiled fruit.

The best way to control stinkbugs is to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Here are 9 prevention tips for keeping stinkbugs out.

  1. Seal Them Out. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home to identify potential entry points for stinkbugs. Check around siding and utility pipes, behind chimneys, and under fascia. Seal any problem spots with silicone or silicone-latex caulk. Close chimney flues when not in use.
  2. Repair. Check doors and windows for any damage. Repair or replace damaged screens. Check weatherstripping and replace if necessary. Check for loose mortar. Install door sweeps if possible.
  3. Turn Off Lights. Stinkbugs are attracted to light. Try to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum. After dark, turn porch lights off and pull down blinds in your home to reduce the amount of light spilling out from indoors.
  4. Keep It Dry. Stinkbugs, like other seasonal pests, need water to survive. Check carefully for leaking pipes and faucets and repair them immediately.
  5. Get Rid of Food. Keep food stored in airtight containers. Dispose of your garbage regularly. Wipe down countertops daily and sweep and mop often.
  6. Air It Out. Keep areas that stinkbugs can use as a harborage point (garages, crawlspaces, attics, and basements) well ventilated. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas. Install screens over chimney and attic vents.
  7. Check It Out. Stinkbugs can hitch a ride into your home in boxes and bags. Carefully inspect any boxes you are bringing in from storage and any grocery bags before you bring them into your home.
  8. Landscaping. Keep branches and shrubbery well trimmed so they are not in contact with the house. Keep grass mowed and leaves raked. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the house and at least 5 inches off the ground.
  9. Call A Pro. If you suspect you have a problem with stinkbugs, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify any entry points the bugs may be using and help to eliminate them. They can also use a preventative spray in the late summer/early fall to help keep them out before overwintering season sets in.

 

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Season Changing Pests

Season Changing Pests

Autumn is right around the corner and it brings with it cooler weather, Halloween, football, and a plethora of new pests. As the weather gets colder, pests will seek shelter, food, and warmth in our homes. Different seasons bring different pests and this time of year is no exception. Here are 7 of the most common fall pests and ways to prevent them from invading your home.

RODENTS

Rodents
Rats, mice, and squirrels are among the most common rodents seen in the fall. They need food and warmth to survive the cold winter months. Rats are known to carry disease and can cause potential health problems for you and your family. They also get into food storage and chew through wooden supports. They build their nests in your insulation and can cause fires by chewing through electrical wires. They can fit into small gaps and holes to get into your home and bring fleas, mites, ticks, and lice with them.
Rodents can be prevented by:

  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Keeping your kitchen clean.
  • Decluttering your garage and attic.
  • Using plastic storage containers instead of cardboard.

COCKROACHES

Cockroaches
Cockroaches are the most common fall pest. Cockroaches can be dangerous to your health as they are known to carry 33 different types of bacteria and can cause asthma in children. They are large, fast, and extremely resilient. They like to hide near pipes and drains and are commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms.
Cockroaches can be prevented by:

  • Keeping kitchens and bathrooms sanitized.
  • Vacuuming frequently.
  • Ensuring cracks around your home are sealed.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.

FLEAS

Fleas
Fleas come into your home on both pets and rodents. While they don’t transmit serious diseases to humans, their bites can be painful and irritating. Fleas can spread throughout your home quickly and can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
Fleas can be prevented by:

  • Keeping grass mowed and shrubs trimmed.
  • Not leaving pet food out overnight.
  • Sealing openings to crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
  • Using preventative products on your pets.
  • Vacuuming often.
  • Washing pet bedding often.

ANTS

Ants
There are several species of ants that are common in the fall. Ants can move into the walls of your home or underneath your foundations and cause significant damage to your home. Carpenter ants can chew through the wood of your home and compromise its structure. Odorous house ants can get into and contaminate your food.
Ants can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sweeping your floors often.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.
  • Keeping tree branches and plants cut back from your home.
  • Not storing firewood near the home or indoors overnight.

STINK BUGS

Stink Bugs
Stink bugs actively seek shelter indoors from the cooler weather of fall. Stink bugs don’t transmit diseases, nor do they bite or sting. They can, however, cause damage to clothing, furniture and other fabrics with their droppings. They emit a strong odor when they are frightened, disturbed, or squashed as a defense mechanism against predators.
Stink bugs can be prevented by:

  • Checking your belongings before bringing them inside the home.
  • Making sure screens on doors and windows are in good repair or, if not, that they are replaced.

SPIDERS

Spiders
There is a significant increase in the number and variety of spiders that appear in the fall. Fall is mating season for most spiders so they are actively seeking mates before winter sets in. The most common spiders seen in the fall are house spiders, which are responsible for the cobwebs you often see in your home, wolf spiders, and hobo spiders.
Spiders can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks and crevices around your home.
  • Turning porch lights off at night to decrease the number of bugs around your home for spiders to eat.
  • Dusting regularly.
  • Removing cobwebs as soon as you find them.

BED BUGS

Bed Bugs
Travel in the fall increases with a large number of sporting events, family gatherings, and students heading back to school and college. Bed bugs ride on clothing, suitcases, and even school bags. While they don’t spread disease, they do leave behind itchy red welts. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control and eliminate.
Bed bugs can be prevented by:

  • Inspecting hotel rooms and dorms before unpacking.
  • Keeping personal belongings off the floor in public places.
  • Checking suitcases before bringing them back into your home.
5 Common Fall Pests

5 Common Fall Pests

1. Bees

Close-up of a bee on a hive
You may be noticing the bees buzzing more than they were a few weeks ago. Why? (Hint: it’s not to ruin your outdoor fun or to sting you) Some species of bees, like honeybees for example, are preparing for winter by collecting nutrients for their colony via late-blooming flowers. Wasps can also be more active (or noticeable) this time of year, when they change up their usual diet of insects for sweeter, more carbohydrate-rich foods. Since bees are beneficial insects, the best way to prevent stings is by avoiding them. If you have an unusual amount of bee activity around your  home, contact a wildlife removal company for recommendations.

2. Roaches

A cockroach crawling out of a white coffee mug
Cockroaches may start moving indoors when the weather gets cooler in search of food, water, and warmth. The best way to prevent an infestation in your home is with proactive roach control: eliminate or reduce food and water sources and get rid of hiding places by de-cluttering and keeping a clean house. Fix any plumbing leaks, store leftover food and dog food in storage containers, take out the trash daily, and seal or correct any gaps, cracks, or crevices that roaches can use to gain access into your home. If you’re seeing several roaches of varying sizes, you may have a roach infestation. Resist the urge to use OTC sprays as these are only on-contact killers and won’t prevent roaches from reproducing. Contact an exterminator for a pest control plan that will include a thorough inspection and quarterly or monthly treatments.

3. Beetles

A stink bug close-up
You may notice an influx of varying kinds of beetles in the Fall months as these overwintering pests are preparing for hibernation. Common fall beetles include ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs. These types of pests often resist traditional treatments with pesticides so it’s best to vacuum up the ones you see inside your home and take measures around your home to prevent more from coming inside. They’ll gather near the warmest areas of your home, usually on the south and west-facing sides. Especially around these areas, check to be sure there aren’t any openings or gaps around windows and doors and, if there are, correct these issues to keep beetles out.

4. Mice

A mouse on a mousetrap with a piece of bread in it
Like other rodents and pests, mice are searching for food and warmth in cooler weather, making your home a welcoming environment. Keep them out by rodent-proofing: seal gaps or openings around your home’s exterior and around plumbing, make sure outdoor vents are covered, repair any holes or tears in window screens or door screens, install weatherstripping around doors, clear out plants, leaves or any other vegetation that may be touching or near your home’s exterior, clean up any yard debris, and de-clutter inside the house. You can also use glue boards in less-traveled areas, like basements and attics, as a proactive approach to mice control.

5. Spiders

A yellow spider in the center of a wet spiderweb
Knocking down cobwebs only to find another one in it’s place the next day? You’re not alone. For some species of garden spiders, like the orb weaver, now is when they are at their largest, making them more noticeable, and females are laying eggs before they die. Since spiders are beneficial insects and can reduce the amount of other pests around your home, try and resist the urge to knock down their webs outside. If you’re seeing spiders in the house, contact an exterminator for pest control recommendations.

April's Pest of the Month – Carpenter Bees

carpenter bee-uga websiteCarpenter bees are often mistake for bumble bees because of their similarity in size and color.

Habits

  • Often found under decks or porch railings and under the eaves of a house.
  • Make nests by tunneling into wood.
  • Leave a trail of sawdust as they discard of the wood to build partitions within the tunnels.
  • Feed on plant nectar, not wood.

Threats

  • Homes with wooden decks, eaves, or other areas of exposed wood are likely targets for carpenter bee damage.
  • Males do not have stingers but can be aggressive to other bees, animals, or people near the nest.
  • Females can sting but rarely do unless they are agitated.

Prevention

  • Treat or paint all exposed wood surfaces.
  • Each nest hole should be treated individually if bees are inside.
  • Seal or paint nest holes if bees are not inside.

Other Pests to Look Out For:

For more information on carpenter bees you can visit our PEST ID page or call Northwest Exterminating at 888.466.7849.

 

More Information on the Stink Bug

We talked on Wednesday about the return of the stink bug. We had so many questions that we thought we would continue our conversation about these pesky pests.

Stink bug

You may have noticed these six legged creatures in and around your home lately. The brown marmorated stink bug, also simply known as the stink bug, originated in parts of Asia. It first showed up in the American mainland in parts of Pennsylvania. At some point, these insects migrated to all parts of the Southeast and have a penchant for fruits, vegetables and other plants.

Stink bugs get their names from a defense mechanism located under their bodies that is triggered when threatened by predators such as birds or lizards. Nevertheless, simply handling the bug, injuring it or attempting to move it can trigger it to release an odor.

Damage done by a stink bug to an apple

As the seasons change, these bugs tend to seek out people’s homes as overwintering shelter from September to the first half of October in order to go into a state of hibernation.  Adults can live anywhere from several months to a year. Typically, these bugs enter the home through cracks under or behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans or lights in ceilings. Sealing these openings will prevent the insects from entering.

If you find that you are having trouble keeping these bugs at bay, call Northwest and our experienced technicians will provide you with a service that protects your homes, lawns and gardens. For the best – Call Northwest!

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

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