NEW HAMPSHIRE: SEED BUGS ARE ON THE MOVE!
By Chris Williams on November 1, 2017.
Have you seen one yet? Homeowners in New Hampshire and other parts of the Northeast say that western conifer seed bugs are making their fall appearance and moving into homes (see our blog, Seed Bugs Would Like to Spend the Winter in Your Home!). The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that although the bugs first appeared in New England in the 1990’s, this year’s seasonal invasion has been more noticeable than in years past.
Alan Eaton, entomologist at the University of New Hampshire, said recently that he’s found about a dozen already inside his home. In fact, one dropped into his bowl of cereal just the other day. Eaton isn’t bothered by seed bugs, but of course he’s an entomologist. “Just pick them up and…show them the door,” he says.
CONIFERS ARE THE SOURCE OF THESE SEED BUGS
If you’ve never seen a western conifer seed bug before, they’re intimidating but harmless, as long as you don’t mind the defensive odor they sometimes release. As their name implies, these rather large (3/4-inch long) and rather strange-looking bugs are normally found outside where they feed on the cones and seeds of various conifers such as white pine and other pines, spruce, hemlock, and Douglas fir. If you have conifers on or near your property, you might have western conifer seed bugs.
We notice these bugs in the fall when they leave their host trees and look for protected places to spend the winter. That often means that they will gather on your home, sometimes in large numbers, looking for a way to get inside. If they succeed, they may go into hiding in attics and other places for the winter or they may blunder around indoors for a time.
Western conifer seed bugs are just one of several insects in our region that routinely move inside in the fall. Others are Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, and boxelder bugs, to name a few (see Why Are There Plant Bugs in My House?). Colonial Pest and other exterminators are getting calls now from people who failed to plan ahead to keep fall-invading bugs out.
YOU CAN KEEP SEED BUGS OUT – WITH HELP FROM THE PROS
Eaton is a believer in preventive measures to deal with overwintering insects. The best solution is some serious “pest-proofing” that seals openings and gaps that can let bugs in around doors, windows, your roofline, etc. To be most effective, Eaton advises that people complete their pest-proofing measures by September 20, before the bugs start to move inside. Western conifer seed bugs usually return to the outdoors by April, he says.
A late summer insecticide treatment around the foundation of your house can also keep fall-invaders from getting inside. Give Colonial Pest a call! Let us assess your situation and come up with a plan that will eliminate fall-invading insects around your home. Our Preventative Maintenance Program provides you with pest protection year-round. Our applications are timed to coincide with regional pest activity. We have experts that do professional pest-proofing, as well.