What if I told you no matter how secure your home is, you’re still going to get a break-in this fall. It won’t be a burglar, but between the tiny cracks of weather stripping around your doors, in the vents that you have in your attic, and down your chimney come tiny invaders-bugs.
As the weather cools off in the fall, insects are attracted to the heat escaping from buildings, and they too are looking for a nice cozy place to get out of the cold. It’s impossible to keep all the heat inside, as glass, tiny cracks in weatherstripping, and even roofs allow heat from your home to escape. Bugs will squeeze with all of their might to set up residence for the cold winter where they can stay alive.
When the weather is transitional in the fall, fluctuating from warm to cool, you’ll often see some of the common trespassers congregating on the sunny parts of your exterior. Eventually when the temperatures are too cold to venture outside, they’ll press forward into the home to try to over-winter.
We often see 3 common insects in the fall of the year, pressing into the home. These pests are a nuisance best, as their food source is part of the outside plant or insect life. They pose little risk to humans. However, if left in a home and they begin to die and decompose, these insects produce a minor allergen that could cause irritation to sensitive individuals. The biggest complaint we hear is that they’re just plain annoying and creepy.
Ladybugs: These cute little critters are a beneficial insect in landscapes. They are predators of insects that feed on ornamental plants, so we love to see them in landscapes as they serve as a biological control of insects. However, there are some years when populations are extremely high of these insects, and they find themselves squeezing into our homes and setting up camp for the winter. They die off in a few months, as they have no food source.
Boxelder Bugs: These insects are named for their favorite resting place, the Box Elder tree. Starting in mid‑summer, they hatch and relocate to female seed-bearing Boxelder trees where they lay eggs on trunks, branches, etc. They may also feed on certain varieties maple or ash trees but cause minimal injury to these trees. If one of these trees are located within a couple hundred yards from a structure, there may be an influx of insect activity in the structure as the weather cools. They again pose little risk to humans other than a minor allergen and fulfilling the annoying and creepy factors.
Stink Bugs: Imported years ago from Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is one of the most despised structural pests. When crushed or in an abundant populations, people often complain of their foul odor. Like the two pests mentioned above, their risks are minor allergen, shrieks, and turned-up noses.
It’s impossible to completely seal off all entry points, but putting forth the proper preventive practices can go a long way in reducing the amount of individual insects that make their way into the structure. Where possible, try to block their passage. Look for areas on the outside of structures that are easy for these invaders to break-in. Fasten wire screening to interior areas such as ridge vents, eve vents, chimneys, etc. These areas are spots that typically allow heat to escape, thus attracting insects at night when temperatures cool.
Applying labeled insecticides can go a long way with reducing populations as well. Applying these materials in late summer to early fall will greatly reduce how many survivors make it into a house or structure. Materials can be applied as a liquid around windows, door frames, common entry points, etc.
In some instances, using insecticidal powders or foams in entry areas will also be a good alternative. A local pest control company will have the available resources in their arsenal to help you reduce your shrieks and turned-up noses. Because most of these materials are applied to the exterior of structures, they pose very minimal risks to humans and animals.
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