The time is fast approaching when hordes of lady beetles and/or brown marmorated stink bugs begin to invade area homes. If this has been a problem in the past, you know exactly what is about to happen. While neither of these insects causes any real problems, it can be disconcerting when you come upon a lady beetle crawling on the pillow when you go to bed at night and it’s never pleasant to have a stink bug drop onto the table during supper. Once they are in the house, they’ll keep surprising you all winter long. They are difficult to kill and squashing them isn’t a good idea either, as they emit an unpleasant smell when smashed!
Both of these insects like to congregate on warm siding or brick during pleasant fall days. When the temperatures start to drop at night, they seek a route into a warmer habitat - your home. All houses have discreet entries to the inside, and insects are pros at finding those places. Cracks under the garage door or tiny openings around windows, attic or basement vents are just a few of the pathways for insects to come in and make themselves comfortable for a long winter.
There are, however, some things homeowners can do to prevent the influx of these uninvited winter guests. Install sweeps on the bottom of garage doors and other outside doors. Make sure all cracks around windows and foundations are caulked. Check vents and make sure they are covered with fine mesh. Check the eaves of the house thoroughly for any loose siding. All of these things are easily done and are inexpensive fixes. One Saturday afternoon is all it would take to stop or at least greatly decrease the number of winter visitors to your home. But, time is growing short. All of these chores must completed before the first wave of insects arrive.
Get busy now to ensure a bugless winter at your house. Just one last tip: Pyrethrin sprays can give some temporary relief, but it will be short-lived. No matter how many you kill today, there will be that many, or more, back again tomorrow.
Donna Teasley is an Extension agent specializing in consumer horticulture for Burke County. Contact her at 828-764-9480 or email@example.com. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Burke County Center is located at 130 Ammons Drive, Suite 2 in Morganton. For more information, visit burke.ces.ncsu.edu.
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