Fall is filled with orange leaves, pumpkin spice, and unfortunately bugs. Though their numbers decrease in the fall, some pests still invade homes. They are in search of a place to wait out the winter months and your home provides the safety and warmth they need. We’ve made a list of the most common pests you could encounter this fall.
As its name suggests, the stink bug is known for releasing an unpleasant scent when crushed or disturbed. This odor comes from a chemical they release, which can stain furniture, walls, and fabric. These bugs gather in large groups on the side of buildings and homes where the sun directly hits. As temperatures drop, they move inside to settle down for the winter. While most stink bugs are brown, some species are green or gray. These bugs grow to about ½ʺ and have a shield-shaped body. One of the most common stink bugs sneaking into your home is the brown marmorated stink bug. This stink bug is grayish-brown and speckled. One or two stink bugs may not seem like a problem, but their numbers can quickly multiply. Stink bugs release pheromones that attract other stink bugs leading to large infestations.
Another pest that’s likely to camp out in your home is the boxelder bug. These bugs are black with reddish-orange markings. They grow up to ½ʺ and have a flat, oval body. Boxelder bugs like to hang out on boxelder trees. As winter approaches, they can fly several miles to find a suitable place to overwinter. Like stink bugs, they gather on the sides of buildings and eventually make their way into homes, sheds, and garages. Though it isn’t common, boxelder bugs can pierce skin. Their bite can leave you with a red and irritated mark. They feed on plants, which can cause leaves to curl or discoloration. Their excrements can leave red stains on furniture, clothing, and curtains. When they feel threatened or are smashed, they can release an unpleasant odor.
Asian Lady Beetles
While native ladybugs are friendly and beneficial, their relative isn’t as nice to have as a guest. Asian lady beetles closely resemble many native ladybug species. However, they range in color from red, orange, tan, and yellow. You can tell them apart from other ladybugs by the M-shaped marking on its head. Look at the spot where the head meets the wings. Though the size of the marking may vary, all Asian lady beetles will have one. These lady beetles are larger than native ladybugs growing up to 1/3ʺ. When frightened or harmed, they release a yellow fluid from their leg joints. The liquid doesn’t smell great and can stain various surfaces. When temperatures cool, Asian lady beetles sneak into homes. They release pheromones that can attract many lady beetles to the same area. Unlike ladybugs, Asian lady beetles can bite and aggravate allergies.
If you hear buzzing during the fall, cluster flies may be hiding in your home. Cluster flies resemble house flies, but there are ways to tell them apart. Cluster flies are larger than the house fly growing to about 1/3ʺ. They have a dark body with tiny golden hairs on the thorax. They have a checkered pattern on their abdomen. Before slipping into homes, they gather near windows and doors that receive direct sunlight. Like other pests on this list, cluster flies release pheromones that bring more flies to your home. They prefer to hide in wall voids and attics because they are dark and protected. One of the main problems with cluster flies is their ability to attract other pests. When these flies die, they are likely to attract beetles and carpenter ants.
Cockroaches have a habit of scurrying across your floor in the fall. Their head is small compared to their large, flat body. They have six legs with pads on them that allow for climbing. Some species of cockroaches have wings and others do not. German, American, oriental, and brown-banded cockroaches are the species most likely to enter your home. Species vary in color and range in size from ½ʺ-1 ½ʺ. While some cockroaches prefer dry spots and others like humid areas, they all like warm locations. Cockroaches are most active at night and are likely to be seen in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. These pests often walk in decaying matter and sewers. Bacteria attaches to their legs, which transfers to food, counters, and other surfaces if they walk on them.
While plastic spiders can add to your spooky Halloween décor, real spiders may be a bit too frightening. Unlike the other pests on this list, spiders’ main reason for being in your home isn’t the cooling temperatures. Fall is mating season for spiders. The ones you see walking around your home are searching for a mate. It’s likely they’ve been hiding in your home for a while. Having one or two spiders hanging around isn’t always a problem. Spiders consume bugs, which can keep pest populations down. However, a spider infestation is more concerning. There are also some spiders—the black widow and brown recluse—that have a poisonous bite. The black widow has a red hourglass-shaped marking on its back, while the brown recluse has a violin-shaped marking. You’ll want to seek medical attention if one of these spiders bites you.
Prevention & Treatment
No one wants their fall to be filled with buggy encounters. Taking a few preventative measures can help keep your home pest-free. Fall pests slip inside through small holes. Make sure to seal cracks and crevices to eliminate potential entry points. Bugs need moisture to survive so eliminate moisture build-up by fixing leaky pipes. Keep your home clean and free of crumbs to limit food sources. Some pests, like stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, and boxelder bugs, can be removed by sweeping or vacuuming. You’ll want to discard them outside, away from your home. You can also treat the exterior of your home with a spray, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Yard Bug Spray. It kills on contact and provides you with residual repellency that will deter pests from returning. If these pests have made their way inside, you can use a spray like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray. While spraying cockroaches will kill the ones you see, you’ll also need to address the source of the infestation. Using a bait, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Roach Killer Gel Bait, can help. Cockroaches consume the bait and return to the colony. When these cockroaches die, others will consume them and the bait.
Your fall season doesn’t have to be spent dealing with pests. Taking time to pest-proof your home can help keep these fall pests out of your home. If pests are giving you a fit, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.