With the fall season approaching, it is important to make sure your home is ready to withstand any invasion attempts by insects and other pests. Keep reading to learn which pests might try to make themselves comfortable in your home this fall and how you can help to prevent pest infestations.
What Types of Pest Infestations Commonly Occur During The Fall Season?
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
The brown marmorated stink bug is most active from March through September, making it crucial that you protect your home from these invaders before September comes and goes. The body of this particular type of stink bug looks similar to a shield and features brown spots and smears. The brown marmorated stink bug is approximately fourteen to seventeen millimeters long which is comparable to the size of a dime. The edges of its abdomen and the ends of its antenna feature light and dark stripes. This characteristic makes it easier to confirm that you are dealing with a brown marmorated stink bug infestation.
In the early days of autumn, both male and female adult brown marmorated stink bugs will search for a site where they can overwinter. Overwintering refers to the process where some insects find warm places to camp out during the cold months. Many times, this warm safe haven is the inside of you home. Occasionally, brown marmorated stink bugs will venture into the living spaces of your home after they have established your residence as their overwintering quarters. However, sometimes they will stay in hiding and will only emerge as the warmer weather approaches. If you do happen to see these insects crawling around your home when spring arrives, it is likely that they were present in your home for the entire fall and winter seasons, but were not active.
If brown marmorated stink bugs do find their way into your home to overwinter, they will likely be found in bookcases, under beds and furniture, in small cracks and crevices, behind baseboards, on your window and door trim or in basements and attics. Fortunately, brown marmorated stink bugs will not cause structural damage to your home, nor will they reproduce indoors. Brown marmorated stink bugs are usually nuisance pests and will not bite you or your pets nor will they transmit diseases. In some cases, those who are sensitive might be affected by the allergens present in the chemicals emitted with the stink bug’s odor.
2. Cluster Flies
Cluster flies are named for their tendency to occur in large numbers, or in large clusters. These flies fortunately do not bite, will not cause structural damage to your home and are not an indicator that your home is unkept. Adult cluster flies look like house flies, but are usually larger in size at about 5/16 of an inch long, more narrow and gray in color instead of iridescent black. One good indicator that the fly in your home is a cluster fly and not a house fly is the way that the cluster fly rests its wings. If you see a fly at rest in your home and the tips of its wings are overlapped, this is likely a cluster fly. House flies do not overlap their wings when at rest.
Adult cluster flies also partake in the practice of overwintering and will seek warm shelter usually beginning in the middle of August. As fall temperatures begin to emerge and it gets cooler outside, cluster flies will squeeze into the indoors through cracks in buildings and most commonly under eaves, gaps in siding or trim, cracks in window sills or baseboards and other small crevices. As they overwinter, cluster flies will sometimes huddle together in basements, attics, unused rooms, wall voids and other areas with low lighting. Like the brown marmorated stink bug, cluster flies will not breed inside of your home, but will do so in the spring time once they have finished overwintering.
3. Mice, Rats, Squirrels and Other Rodents
Mice, rats, squirrels and other rodents might make their way into your home as the weather gets cold for the same reason that some insects do. When temperatures become unfavorable in their natural habitats, rodents will seek shelter indoors where they can remain warm, comfortable and fed until spring emerges. Rats and mice are very talented when it comes to finding cracks or holes which they can use to enter your home. These rodents can smell food from far distances and can even pick up on food smells through thick barriers such as insulation and walls. In the cooler months, rats and mice will use their whiskers to detect where hot air is escaping from a structure. Once they have found where the hot air is coming from, they will then sneak into the crack or crevice from which the warm air is escaping. If they are not able to find any cracks, holes or gaps to enter your home, they will use their strong teeth to chew through any weak materials as a way to gain entry.
Cockroaches are another type of pest that will happily make themselves at home inside of your house during the fall and winter months. In Houston, American or German cockroaches are likely to be the type of cockroach that you will find sharing your space. The American cockroach is able to tolerate cold weather and can even survive temperatures that are below freezing. However, just because they can withstand the cold weather, does not mean they prefer to do so. These cockroaches like to spend their time in environments that are about seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this temperature is very close to the temperature at which most homes stay. When you consider that these insects are able to produce eggs sacks every six days which contain up to sixteen eggs each, the thought of sharing your home with them this fall might become unbearable. Additionally, cockroaches carry bacteria and pathogens that can become a health hazard to you and your family as this bacteria spreads wherever the cockroach travels.
Like American cockroaches, German cockroaches also prefer warmer temperatures. In fact, an ideal environmental temperature for the German cockroach is about ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Although this inside of your home is not likely to reach ninety degrees, even in the crisp fall and winter months, German cockroaches will seek out the warmer indoor temperatures during this time. German cockroaches are also able to produce many eggs and offspring in a short period.
Ants do not fare well in the cold weather, which is one reason why these tiny insects will seek shelter in your home during the fall and winter months. To prepare for winter, ants will begin gathering and storing food, and these insects see your kitchen as a never ending food supply. There are steps that you can take to make your home a less attractive food oasis for ants and other insects this fall.
How To Protect Your Home From Pest Infestations In The Fall Season
Now that you know what type of pests might want to share your home with you this fall season, you should learn the ways in which you can keep them out. Read below for some do-it-yourself tips on how to control pests this fall.
- Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
Like any insect or bug, the brown marmorated stink bug will enter your home through any cracks or crevices that open to the outdoors. To block this particular method of entry into your home, make sure you caulk the inside and outside of your windows before the cool weather arrives. You can also weather strip doors that lead indoors from outside. Another step you can take to prevent brown marmorated stink bug infestations this fall is to remove debris and vegetation from your home’s foundation. These insects like to munch on these materials and by removing them from your home, you are essentially disinviting them to shack up with you for fall and winter months. Additionally, check your foundation and seal and cracks you may find, insulate any exposed plumbing pipes, fill large gaps and holes in your home with steel wool and cap the top of your chimney.
2. Cluster Flies
One of the best and easiest ways to prevent a cluster fly infestation in your home this fall is to keep your space tidy and clean through regular vacuuming, sweeping, surface cleaning and taking out the trash. You can also practice similar pest control methods as you would with the brown marmorated stink bug, including caulking or sealing any cracks and crevices, using door sweeps to prevent the flies from buzzing through these tiny spaces and fixing any excessive moisture issues in your home.
3. Mice, Rats, Squirrels and Other Rodents
Perhaps the most important method of rodent infestation prevention in the fall months is sealing off any holes or gaps that are large enough for a rat or mouse to squeeze through. This can be done by feeling for drafts around your home where these gaps or holes may exist. After you have identified where these gaps are located, seal them with caulk or steel wool. Keep in mind that mice are able to squeeze through a hole the size of a pencil, so it is a good idea to seal even the tiniest of holes. It is also highly important to make sure your garage is properly sealed, as rodents like the dark and often times cluttered environment that garages offer. If you have a basement, make sure that there are no moisture problems and clear out any mess that might be lying around. Because rodents are able to easily chew through flimsy plastic food containers, store your pantry food in tightly sealed glass or hard plastic containers. Lastly, before you bring down the fall home decorations from the attic, make sure the storage bags or boxes do not contain any live or deceased rodents.
When implementing cockroach prevention in your home, the most important method is to eliminate any food sources. Keeping your kitchen and home clean and mess free is a good start to making sure that you do not accidentally leave behind any food for the cockroach. You can start to eliminate food sources by deep cleaning your kitchen appliances. The food spills and built up grease on your refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave and countertops can be an invitation for cockroaches to enter your home in the fall. You should also clean out your pantry and cabinets, allow food to only be consumed in one room, whether that be the kitchen or dining room, vacuum or sweep the kitchen floor nightly, empty pet food bowls at night and use a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
Ant prevention in your home is similar to the do-it-yourself pest control methods you will find with many other home invaders. However, there is a strong emphasis on food storage when it comes to preventing an ant infestation. Like cockroaches, ants will usually enter your home as they search for a food source. To prevent ants from finding a reliable food source in your kitchen, make sure you store your cereals, pasta, grains, flour and other ant-friendly foods in sturdy glass or hard plastic containers with tightly sealed lids. These food items should be stored on high shelves in your pantry. It can also be helpful to store any fruit, vegetables and bread in the refrigerator, as any of these foods will undoubtedly become a snack for invading ants. Additional ways you can help to keep the ants out this fall is to seal any cracks or crevices in your home, clear your yard of debris and keep the inside of your home free from food scraps and other messes.
All of us at Natran Green Pest Control hope that these do-it-yourself pest control tips help to keep your home rodent and insect free this fall season!