Look Out for These Fall Nuisance Pests

Look Out for These Fall Nuisance Pests

During the impending cooler months, some pests will begin seeking warmth and shelter for survival. These pests, known as overwintering pests, can survive cold temperatures due to these activities. There are three common overwintering pests: stink bugs, ladybugs, and boxelder bugs. They don’t cause any harm to you or your home, but they can become a nuisance once they get inside. Let’s break them down and discover the best ways to keep them away from your home.

Stink Bugs

These armor-shaped insects are an invasive species known to release an odor when disturbed or crushed. They pose no threat to humans or the structure of your home but can become a nuisance when an infestation occurs. They feed on a variety of plants, including fruits like apples, peaches, and figs. They prefer moist, mild climates and can be found in bathrooms and kitchens.

Lady Bugs

These harmless, overwintering pests are found worldwide and have over 5,000 known species. Ladybugs have an oval, dome-shaped body with a hard-shell wing that covers their inner wings. They are deemed beneficial and consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects. During the colder months, they search for warmth and shelter. They can take over your home in a matter of days and can become a major nuisance when large populations congregate.

Boxelder Bugs

These pests are named for feeding off maple and seed-bearing boxelder trees in the warmer months. Boxelder bugs are sneaky pests that can easily make your home theirs. These pests are oval-shaped and elongated, with a reddish black body and orange markings on their back. They are considered more assertive than other overwintering species, puncturing skin when they feel threatened. The result is similar to that of a mosquito bite, so it shouldn’t be something to worry about.

Preventing Overwintering Pests

  • Seal or caulk all cracks, crevices, and holes around house foundations, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
  • Keep the yard clean by raking, cutting grass short, and picking up debris in the yard.
  • Use tight-fitting insect screens on foundations and attic vents.

If you suspect you have an overwintering pest infestation, contact a professional, local pest control company to provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.

Stinkbugs: What Are They?

Stinkbugs: What Are They?

Have you ever seen those armor-shaped bugs on the walls in your home? If yes, then you have a stinkbug problem. These bugs are attracted to warmth and are in search of protected, overwintering sites where they can enter houses in large numbers. With the right preventative measures placed throughout your home, these pests can be put to a stop. 

Stinkbugs are an invasive species that tend to release an odor when disturbed or crushed. These foreign pests are native to China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan and were first identified in the States in the late 90’s. While these overwintering pests do not possess any real threat to humans, they can become a nuisance when an infestation occurs.  

Stinkbugs are known to feed on a variety of host plants, including fruits (e.g., apples, peaches, figs, apricots, and persimmons), many ornamental plants, and weeds. While these pests don’t spread disease or cause structural damage, they are considered more of a nuisance to people if they make their way indoors. Stinkbugs prefer moist, mild climates and can be found in bathrooms and kitchens. Stinkbugs spend the spring and summer seasons outdoors then will seek shelter from the winter elements indoors. 

During the winter months, stinkbugs go into a phase known as diapause, which is like hibernation, where the bugs go inactive during the chilly 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 meet 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 prevent stinkbugs is to ensure that all cracks, crevices, gaps, or holes in your foundation are fixed. They can also enter through chimneys, air conditioning vents, or underneath house siding. Check these areas throughout your house to make sure there are no openings or gaps to help prevent them from entering. 

If you suspect you have a problem with stinkbugs, contact a professional local pest control company who can help identify any entry points pests may be using and provide a treatment plan to eliminate them. They can also use a preventative spray in the late summer/early fall to help keep them out before the overwintering season sets in. 

Kudzu Bugs vs. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: What’s the Difference?

Kudzu Bugs vs. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: What’s the Difference?

Noticing small, greenish-brown bugs congregating throughout the cracks of your home’s foundation or even inside your house? While many might identify these insects as stinkbugs, they might actually kudzu bugs! Kudzu bugs and brown marmorated stinkbugs are often confused with each other. While these pests do have some similarities, they are quite different from each other. Let’s breakdown how these insects are both alike and different!

How They’re Alike
Kudzu Bug
Kudzu Bug

Both stinkbugs and kudzu bugs are known to be a nuisance to all homeowners. Both are highly attracted to warmth and will enter homes to find a warm place to gather. When disturbed, both species will emit an alarming chemical defense against predators. When crushed, they release a very unpleasant odor from their bodies. Even worse, if several of these insects are crushed together, the smell left behind is extremely powerful. 

How They’re Different
Stinkbug
Stinkbug

A stinkbug’s shield-like body is around 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide with shades of brown across its entire body. Their body size is a bit larger than a kudzu bug, with the kudzu’s measuring only 4 to 6 millimeters long. Kudzu bug bodies are olive green and brown, with a flat, squarish body shape.

Stinkbugs will typically feed off ornamental plants, fruit trees, legumes, and vegetables. The kudzu bug prefers to eat kudzu vines but will occasionally eat soybeans and most any other type of beans. While both stinkbugs and kudzu bugs utilize different types of food sources, both will destroy crops, making both species agricultural pests.

How to Prevent Them

If you notice either of these pests infesting your home, try some of these pest prevention tips below:

  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, siding, and outlets that are leading inside.
  • Properly ventilate basements, attics, garages, and crawlspaces to eliminate harborage points.
  • Install screens over chimney and crawlspace vents.
  • Consider calling your local pest control company to inspect, identify areas of entry, and provide you with a treatment plan!
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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Stop the Overwintering Pest Invasions

Stop the Overwintering Pest Invasions

As temperatures start to cool off, panic can overtake pests who need to seek out shelter from the impending cold weather. They will often, unfortunately, set their sights on your warm, cozy home. Here are a few of the most common overwintering pests and what you can do to prevent them.

STINK BUGS

Stinkbug
Stink bugs flock to homes in large numbers during the fall. They position themselves on the side of your home that receives the most sunlight in an attempt to keep warm. A thorough inspection for possible entry points is key in prevention of an invasion.

BOXELDER BUGS

Boxelder
Boxelder bugs are one of the more aggressive species of overwintering pests. Like the stink bug, they will make use of the sunny side of your home and cars. They will utilize openings they find and gather by the hundreds. Crushing these pests is not recommended as their remains can attract carpet beetles.  Vacuuming should be used to remove them from the home.

LADY BUGS

Ladybug
As universally adored as they are, lady bugs are an overwintering pest that can take over your home in a matter of days. They utilize windows and door openings to enter; therefore, checking and replacing weather-stripping and sealing with silicone-based caulk can help keep them out before fall starts.

If you have an issue with overwintering pests, reach out to your local pest control company to schedule an inspection.

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