We aren’t the only ones plotting where to hunker down for cold weather. Insects also seek out snug accommodations when the leaves turn, taking up residence exactly where they’re not wanted: in the house. Homeowners near evergreens find conifer seed bugs moving into warmer quarters. For those in the more temperate zones, different bugs shun the doorbell and saunter right in. As fall approaches, it’s time to repel a new set of insect invaders. Happily, these uninvited guests are more annoying than damaging.
Spring may be the season for termites to breed and increase, but autumn motivates insects to slow down and hibernate. None of the bugs that cozy up to human companionship in the winter – Asian ladybugs, box elder bugs and marmorated stinkbugs are the top three – harm humans, pets or the house. They don’t bite, sting or reproduce while in residence, though their abundant numbers seem to indicate otherwise (they’re numerous because pheromones invite others to the nifty hiding place). They are high on the gross-out factor and can emit nuisance smells. Nearly all of us recall a close-up ‘ick ‘moment with a marmorated stinkbug that we thankfully escaped with a few shudders and pungent scent reminders.
September and October are the two biggest months for bugs to seek out tight, protected spaces that hover between 40 and 50 degrees all winter, squeezing into siding flaps, shutters and moulding crevices. Because metabolisms are slowing, insecticides are less effective than at other times of the year. The two best strategies for bug-free homes are barring entrance before insects arrive and removing them mechanically. Before the weather turns, ensure that sealing and caulking are tight. Use screens if windows and doors are open. If a cache of insects is discovered, a vacuum cleaner whisks them away quickly.
Most homeowners struggle with freeloading insects at this time of year. It’s so common that exasperated residents prepare for battle by tracking bug populations online. Care to find out when stinkbugs are expected in your region and report your own encounters with the loud, clunky flyers? Join the digital crowd! As bugs know well, like-minded company livens up tedious activities.