It’s Time for Insects Wintering in Your Home to Wake Up!

By Chris Williams on March 17, 2015.
huddled lady beetles

Lady beetles are one kind of insect that will overwinter in your home.

If you’ve had trouble in the past with any of these insects in your home – lady beetles, stink bugs, cluster flies, paper wasps, seed bugs, elm leaf beetles, or boxelder bugs – then you probably already know that this is the time of year when they make themselves known. All of these insects are what we call “fall invaders” since they enter homes in the fall with the intention of spending the winter in a warm, dry place. Most of them feed on plants outside, but when their food source dies in the fall, they seek winter protection.

What Do Fall-Invading Insects Do?

These unwelcome guests get in under doors or windows, through vents, and cracks and crevices, especially around the roofline. Many of them will end up in your attic, but others settle into wall or ceiling voids, or even behind baseboards or curtains. You won’t see or hear much out of them during the winter (with the possible exception of unusually warm winter days). They don’t feed or do any damage; they’re just waiting for spring (we certainly know that feeling in New England!)

About this time of year, these insects start to “wake up” and move around. They leave their hiding places and head to windows (and maybe lights) looking for a way to get back outside. Fall invaders are usually scattered and few and far between, so trying to control them with insecticides doesn’t make sense. They are also very sluggish so a vacuum or a flyswatter, or a gentle nudge out the door works best. Try not to squash them on top of fabric surfaces though since some release a defensive fluid that can stain.

Take Advance Action to Avoid a Repeat Performance

Fall invading insects tend to be repeat offenders. People that live near agricultural fields, or that have the insects’ host plants (elm, boxelder) on their property, are the most likely to be inundated with these pests. If you’ve had fall-invading insects in your home before, you’ve probably got them again unless you’ve taken certain preventive actions. Pest-proofing, or sealing up any openings where the bugs can get in, is a necessary step. A perimeter insecticide treatment around your home in fall can also help to keep fall invaders out. Give Colonial a call and talk to one of our experts. Too late for this spring, but we can set up a preventive program that will keep fall invaders out of your home next year. (P.S. Pest-proofing and perimeter treatments keep other pests out of your home, too, and they work year round!)

See these blogs for more on individual fall-invading insects:

Photo credit: seier+seier / Foter / CC BY

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