The Most Annoying Pests and How to Manage Them
Fall is the season where bugs and other pests start seeking warmer areas to settle in before the cold hits—and that makes your home a popular destination. Here's how to manage fall's most annoying pests.
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Box-elder bugs are seldom a major problem—they’re more of an annoyance because they tend to head indoors looking for shelter as winter approaches. They push into cracks and other openings and often congregate around windows on the southern or western side of a house, where it’s warmer. While they don’t cause property damage, box-elder bugs do sometimes stain surfaces, and they can be a hassle to deal with in large numbers.
Managing Box-Elder Bugs
Late summer and fall are the best times to control box-elder bugs. Seal possible entry points with caulk or spray foam. Install door sweeps on exterior entry doors and a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors. Also replace damaged window and door screens as well as those around roof and soffit vents.
To get rid of box-elder bugs, you can use an insecticide around the outside of the building when box elder bugs start to cluster in late summer. Incidentally, if you see box elder bugs clustering around the outside of a structure in spring, they are headed out and away from the house and there is no need to use an insecticide. Here are more ways to get rid of boxelder bugs.
Asian Lady Beetles
Ladybugs might be good luck, but their lookalike cousin could be bad news. North America does have native ladybugs, but the slightly bigger Asian lady beetle was imported to the United States in 1916 in hopes of keeping other insect pest populations down, according to the USDA. Over the years, more were introduced around the country, and the pest control worked well—too well. Their populations have exploded so much that they’ve become a nuisance
Managing Asian Lady Beetles
Asian lady beetles can become troublesome as they prey on some beneficial insects. To keep them away, try using whole cloves or bay leaves as they don’t like the scent. Just place them in heavily infested areas to discourage them.
To get rid of the pests in your house without chemicals, suck them up with a HEPA filter vacuum or sweep them outside with a broom. Asian lady beetles escape the cold by crawling into homes, so sealing any cracks and making sure windows and doors close tightly will prevent more from getting in.
The most common stink bug in the United States is the brown marmorated. As the name implies, it’s brownish in color, similar to the colors of a tree trunk and its shape resembles a tiny shield. They’re about 3/4 inches in length and width and the adults can fly. These bugs are generally harmless, but have a nasty viscous liquid in their abdomen that smells horrible and stains fabrics.
Managing Stink Bugs
We know, you just want to squish them and be done with them, but don’t or you’ll instantly regret it. When disturbed or crushed, stink bugs have a tendency to release a bad-smelling, bad-tasting odor from pores on the sides of their bodies, and it can linger for hours. Haul out the vacuum and suck them up instead. Empty the vacuum bag or container in the trash and place it outside or use an old sock around the attachment and dispose of it in the outside trash. If a stink bug sprayed, these homemade deodorizers help make your house smell fresh again.
Typical entry points include around door and window frames, sedges of siding, flashing and vents. Use a good quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk to seal cracks.
Mice, squirrels, raccoons and bats are the most common fur-covered pests that invade our homes (often when the weather starts turning cool). They really don’t mean any harm. They’re just looking for food, water and shelter. We’ll tell you how to keep your home from becoming a varmint’s dream house.
Like all rodents, they’re looking for food and shelter as the weather gets colder. Rodents are able to enter your home in a number of ways, both from the ground and from above. Here are 11 strategies for do-it-yourself pest control both in and outside your home.
Ants are undoubtedly pesky pests. Seeing a swarm of them in your home is grounds for freaking out. But rather than be frustrated, be active! There are plenty of ways to get rid of ants.
There are many different types of ants, yet some of the most common house-invading ones include odorous house ants, carpenter ants and thief ants. Once you identify the type of ants you have, you’ll have a better idea for how to manage them.
A clean house is your first defense against ants. Sweep up food crumbs, wipe up spills, take out the garbage and don’t leave dirty dishes sitting around the house. This takes away the ants’ food source. For a safe way to get rid of ants, spray vinegar mixed with water around bowls of pet food to keep ants from feasting there. Liquid bait is the best way to kill ants for many sweet-loving ants.
For more ideas for how to get rid of ants, check out our expert guide.
Depending on the type of cricket, some may invade your home looking for food in fall or during periods of heavy rainfall. They hide in dark, warm locations, such as behind baseboards and in basements and crawlspaces. You may hear the telltale cricket chirping, which is a male cricket rubbing its forewings together. They can be a nuisance, chewing on fabrics and paper. If there are a lot of them, you may notice frass—dried excrement that looks like coffee grounds—on flat surfaces, such as windowsills.
Plus, check out these 26 tips for controlling pests in and around your home.
To keep crickets from entering the house, seal up any cracks or gaps around the perimeter and keep debris, such as leaf litter, mulch and firewood, away from the foundation. You can keep them from entering the house with this product that you spray into cracks and crevices or this product that you sprinkle around the perimeter of your house.
Contrary to popular belief, spiders do not come inside seeking shelter before the winter. Are you bothered by spiders setting up shop inside your house? Spiders often come indoors seeking food: You can get rid of spiders with a little patience and the right tactics—but act quickly before they have a chance to lay their eggs!
Spiders don’t infest a house en masse unless their eggs just hatched. That means that killing every spider you see is actually an effective way to keep spiders under control, especially when combined with our other how to get rid of spider steps.
If you have an overabundance of house spiders in the fall, the problem is not going to go away. These spiders will continue to live, breed, and hatch within your home until you get professional help.