Fall’s here which means a whole list of new bugs are trying to move inside your home as they attempt to escape the cold. Here are the pests you’re most likely to encounter this season and essential tips for preventing them.
The chirp of crickets can be a seasonal pleasure, but when your home’s haunted with that noise all night long, it’s certainly an unwelcome intrusion. A home full of dozens of dead and decaying crickets is really gross, too. Did we mention they also eat holes in clothing, bedding, furniture, rugs, and other fabrics?
We know they can be a bit scary, but nearly all spiders are harmless and actually beneficial, helping keep indoor insect populations to a minimum. But as the weather cools, spiders’ mating season begins which tends to bring them out of hiding and in larger numbers than usual. As helpful as they can be, no one wants a home full of spiders and webs for the holidays.
As fall kicks in, centipedes are more likely to move indoors, as they search for food, moisture, and shelter from the coming cold. There’s just something about their numerous legs and the way they scuttle about that makes centipedes extra creepy. But thankfully, just like spiders, centipedes are normally allies, helping rid our homes of other creepy crawlies, spiders included. However, it is important to mention that some, especially larger individuals, can pack a seriously painful bite, so do exercise caution around them.
If you’ve ever spotted unexplained holes in your clothing, rugs, or bedding, don’t be so quick to blame moths. There’s a good chance these silvery wingless bugs are the real culprits. In addition to closets and other storage spaces, you might notice silverfish in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms, where they congregate to grab a quick drink.
The larvae of a small brown moth, fall armyworms are one of the most destructive lawn & garden pests in the U.S., capable of stripping an entire yard of its plant life in a single night. One fall evening your lawn is beautiful and healthy, and the next morning it’s an ugly, dying patch of brown grass and dirt.
If you’ve noticed wasps or wasp nests near your home in the spring and summer, you need to be extra cautious during fall and winter. During the colder months, wasps become more active and also more aggressive as they prepare their colonies for chillier conditions. During this time, you, your family and pets are far more likely to incur painful, and in some cases dangerous, stings.
While stink bugs are especially bad in the Northern U.S., they’re slowly becoming more of an issue across the entire country. As we enter fall, these bugs emerge from their hiding places in alarmingly large numbers in search of warm places to overwinter for the season. During this time, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of stink bugs gather on the southern sides of homes, barns, and other outbuildings. And if they happen to find a small crack or crevice to move indoors, you might just find yourself sharing a home with several dozen of these foul-smelling pests.
Similar to stink bugs, boxelder bugs are relatively harmless but also a serious nuisance—they’re infamous for producing a terrible odor, too. Also like stink bugs, they can appear in surprisingly large numbers as the weather cools, blanketing the exterior of your home. And, if you allow them entryways, they’ll gladly take residence inside as well.
Sure, these damaging, disease-carrying pests can live in our homes, garages, and outbuildings all year long, but they become particularly bad as winter nears and they’re desperate for warm shelter. In addition to the obvious sanitation problems they create, rats and mice can cause expensive household damage as they chew through walls, clothing, electrical wires, and more.
The following preventative tips will substantially reduce the number of fall bugs you find both inside and outside your home
- In addition to warmth, fall bugs move indoors in search of food and water. Keeping your home clean and free of food debris and excess moisture can substantially limit the number of bugs you see indoors during fall and winter.
- Attracting predators like birds to your lawn is an effective and natural way to curb fall bug populations. Baths and feeders will usually do the trick.
- Arguably the most effective way to keep fall pests outside where they belong is to make sure your home is properly sealed. Start by doing a slow and thorough check both inside and outside for possible entryways like cracks, crevices, holes, etc. Look closely at windows, doorways, baseboards, fixtures, outlets, foundations, basements, and attics. Then simply use spackle or caulk to patch any entry points you find. You might want to consider installing seals at the bottom of doors and garages, too.
- Limiting sources of light just outside your home can significantly reduce fall bug numbers. We strongly suggest trading traditional outdoor light bulbs for those that don’t attract bugs, such as yellow compact fluorescent lights (CFL), sodium vapor bulbs, or halogen options.
- Treat your entire yard, including shrubbery and bases of trees, with the family-safe Lawn & Garden Kit monthly until you experience several weeks of freezing conditions.
- Spray known bug hangouts and potential entry points like doorways, windowsills, baseboards, etc every other week with Cedarcide Original.
Sooo you might not want to hear this, but there are definitely bugs hiding in your home, whether you see them or not. Normally it’s no big deal, a few beneficial bug-eating spiders here or there. But sometimes you’re not so lucky, and your hidden bugs are a costly problem just waiting to happen. Food, water, and shelter—these are the reasons bugs move indoors, and because our homes provide all three, every household has at least a few critters crawling around somewhere.
But if we don’t see them, where could they be hiding? Here are some surprising but also common places bugs hide in our homes.
Three things bugs really like: moisture, warmth, and a dark place to hide. Whether it’s your basement or a designated closet, your hot water heater provides all three. Periodically check around and under your water heater tank for signs of millipedes, centipedes, pillbugs, silverfish, spiders, crickets, and ants. If you notice any leaks or unexpected moisture, clean it up immediately and correct the issue to avoid future problems.
Solution: To kill any bugs you find, give them a quick spray with Cedarcide Original. To repel future bugs, spray baseboards, shelving, and known trouble spots with Cedarcide Original every other week.
Bathrooms not only provide water but also warmth, and that added humidity really helps draw in the creepy crawlies. Thoroughly check your bathroom’s cabinetry and drains for signs of cockroaches, crickets, silverfish, and ants, and if you’re currently struggling with roaches or ants, make sure to dry both your bathroom and your shower’s flooring after each use. Entire populations of roaches and ants can often sustain themselves on just this water alone.
Solution: If you’re experiencing heavy pest traffic, hand drying your shower and sinks after each use may be necessary. For less severe problems, simply spray any bugs you spot with family-safe Cedarcide Original. Spray suspected entry points and known hangouts every other week to repel bugs from the area.
The next time you’re doing a deep clean, make sure to pull your appliances out from the wall. Not only does grime collect here that can cause pest issues later, but there’s a good chance bugs have already set up shop there. Crumbs, darkness, privacy, and often moisture are in great supply behind and under appliances like fridges and dishwashers, making them a common hideout for roaches, flies, ants, and other hungry insects.
Don’t be surprised if you find bugs inside your fridge, too—yep, you read that right: inside! It’s not uncommon for fruit flies and roaches to crawl inside your fridge, feast and breed for a few days, and then sneak out when you’re not looking.
Solution: Cleanliness is key. Periodically clean inside, outside, behind, and under your appliances to limit bug attractants like moisture, dirt, and food debris. A quick spray of non-toxic Cedarcide Original will take care of any bugs you come across in the process.
It should come as no surprise that trash and recycling bins are a popular gathering place for all sorts of bugs. The abundance of food and shelter brings not only expected visitors like flies, roaches, and ants, but also predatory bugs, such as spiders, sometimes even scorpions.
What might be more surprising, though, is that not only do bugs hang out in your garbage, they can thrive there, too. In other words, your trash and recycling might not just occasionally feed bugs, it could be the very source of your home’s pest problems, sustaining entire populations of hungry bugs hidden inside.
Solution: Taking your trash out often, switching to bins with sealable lids, and cleaning those bins weekly should take care of any trash or recycling-dwelling pests you might have.
You know what bugs enjoy almost as much as food and water? Clutter. And your junk drawer is crammed full of it. In addition to cleaning your junk drawers at least annually, check it periodically for signs of spiders, roaches, ants, silverfish, and other unwanted guests.
Solution: Do yourself a favor and just finally get around to cleaning out your junk drawers. Recycle or donate duplicate items and throw all those sauce packets and disposable utensils you should have dumped years ago. Keeping things organized and clean should do the trick.
Your dirty laundry and even clean piles of clothes could be concealing some unknown roommates. Carpet beetles, silverfish, firebrats, roaches, crickets, and moths commonly hide out in disorganized clothing and bedding. The scent of sweat, skin oils, spilled food and drinks attracts a wide array of interested insects, which can ultimately lead to hundreds of dollars of damage.
Solution: Stay up on your laundry and avoid piling clothes, bedding, and other textiles, even if they’re clean. Check fabrics for signs of bugs before storing them for the season and wash as needed. Using bags or bins with airtight seals should shield your clothing from pest damage during the offseason
Your electrical outlets and outlet covers might be hiding more than just wiring. Ants, several types of beetles, and more are known to take up residence in these surprising locations. Look for small wood shavings and other signs of subtle wall damage—these are common symptoms of infested outlets.
Solution: Remove any covers you suspect might be hiding pests, carefully clean out the space, and repair or replace parts as needed
Before bringing home any new plant babies, inspect them for signs of bugs, like webbing, eggs, larva, and of course any adult insects. Surprisingly, houseplants are a common avenue for bugs to enter our homes. It’s a smart practice to quarantine any new houseplant additions apart from your other plants for at least a month after bringing them home. Not only will this save your other plants in case the new one contains damaging bugs, but it will also make it easier to monitor it for any hidden pests.
Solution: Check out these quick reads on killing and repelling common houseplant pests:
This one gives us chills. Who would have thought that the cute stuffed animals we grew up sleeping and cuddling with might have been host to a whole range of yucky critters? Carpet beetles, silverfish, firebrats, roaches, crickets, spiders, moths—any of these could be hiding inside or on the outside of your favorite teddy bear.
Solution: Wash frequently used stuffed animals at least once every few weeks and apply family-safe Cedarcide Original repellent as needed.
New and old cardboard is a huge attractant for countless insects, arachnids, and other crawling things, including scorpions, crickets, silverfish, and roaches.
Solution: Make the switch to sealable plastic boxes or bins and you should be covered.
Maybe you’ve already heard about Integrated Pest Management (aka IPM), or maybe it’s an entirely new concept to you—either way, we’re going to help you better understand how exactly IPM can benefit you, your family, and pets. So what’s the deal with this newer, supposedly smarter approach to pest control? We have your answers below.
There are countless definitions floating around the internet, but this info from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources seems to get it just right:
Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland, or natural areas. IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage
After years of saturating our crops, lawns, homes, families, and pets with notoriously harmful chemicals, we now know there are safer, more effective ways to control pests, prevent their damage, and avoid bites. In fact, many traditional approaches have proven unsustainable, affecting not only the health of our families and pets but also the health of our lawns, ultimately resulting in even larger, hardier pest populations around the home.
In short, Integrated Pest Management is about taking proactive steps to prevent or mitigate pests before they can become a serious issue. But don’t worry, even if you’re currently struggling with a heavy, ongoing bug problem, IPM is still an excellent option for you.
You may be wondering, “What exactly do you mean by “proactive steps?” It might sound technical, but don’t worry it’s quite simple. It essentially comes down to three main components: prevention, monitoring, and family-safe pest control maintenance. Read on for the specifics.
Here’s how to start incorporating Integrated Pest Management to protect your family, pets, home, and lawn from bugs, their bites and damage.
When it comes to personal pest prevention, your focus will be on making your lawn and home unappetizing and inaccessible to insects and other damaging pests. Arguably the most important step is to remove potential hideouts, food, and water sources. Below are some guidelines to get you started.
- Clutter is your enemy—any unnecessary clutter both indoors and in your lawn needs to go, and fast. Whether it’s stacks of old newspapers, piles of laundry, or general messiness inside your home, or unused equipment, brush, or tall grass in your lawn, pests will use these spaces to hide and thrive.
- Lawn maintenance is vital. Regularly mow, weed-eat, trim shrubbery and hedges to remove potential breeding and hiding spots.
- Nothing attracts bugs like excess moisture, especially outdoors. If your home or lawn readily provides access to standing water, such as via poor drainage, clogged gutters, poorly maintained bird baths or pools, leaky hoses, faucets, drink spills, or water-filled dishes in the sink, you’re going to struggle with constant pest problems. Remove or address these water sources ASAP.
- It’s all about cleanliness. If your flooring, sinks, or countertops regularly offer crumbs and food residues, we promise you the bugs will come. It’s crucial to keep these spaces and all food storage areas free of edible debris. For best results, keep all your food items sealed in tightly closed containers or baggies. For similar reasons, take out your trash and recycling often and periodically clean the bins to keep them clear of potential food sources.
- Block their entry. Bugs and other pests enter our homes via cracks or holes in foundations, walling, screens, doorways, and windows. Do a thorough check both inside and outside your home looking for potential entrances. Repair or replace any broken screens or seals you notice, and use caulk or another appropriate material to fill any cracks or holes you discover, too. Similarly, many bugs such as ticks are introduced into our lawns via wildlife like deer. In these instances, installing fencing or other wildlife deterrents is strongly recommended.
- Team up with nature and install bug-repelling plants inside or outside your home to naturally limit bug populations. Click here to learn more.
- Consider replacing standard mercury vapor lights outside doors and windows with halogen lights. This will really help cut down on those nightly flying insects and the additional predatory pests they attract.
Periodically checking your home, lawn, and pets for bug problems is an important element of Integrated Pest Management, and can save you and your family tons of pain and money in the long run. This will allow you to gauge the extent of your pest issue as well as help identify the exact pest you’re dealing with, which will ultimately determine your pest control approach.
If you need help diagnosing a pest issue or unknown bug bites, give us a call at 800-842-1464 or chat us on our website.
PEST CONTROL MAINTENANCE
Prevention is always the best form of pest control, which is why periodically treating your lawn, home, and pets with family-safe pest control products can save you tons of time, money, and headache. It’s simple: the longer a bug problem persists, the more difficult and costly it becomes.
Old school lawn chemicals are scary, dangerous things. They not only wreck the natural ecosystems that keep your lawn healthy, including pollinators like bees and butterflies, but their toxic ingredients almost always find their way into the home. And when you compromise the health of your lawn with chemical-based pesticides, you’re only making it more vulnerable in the long run to pests now immune to traditional approaches.
Instead, spray your entire lawn and all shrubbery with family and pet-safe PCO Choice monthly to help kill and repel bugs in all life stages. For warmer regions, this should be done monthly until the temperatures consistently drop below freezing for more than a few weeks. If you live in a colder climate, start spraying monthly in late February and then taper off in November as winter sets in.
Unlike the gross, toxic sprays, there’s no downtime required with PCO Choice, meaning you and your pets can safely enjoy your yard immediately after application.
For additional pest protection, spread single-ingredient Cedar Granules throughout your lawn and garden, especially along your home’s foundation and the areas with the most pest traffic.
The next time you reach for a bottle of bug spray to kill pests indoors, consider the ramifications. Old school, chemical-based bug sprays have been linked with a laundry list of side effects, including brain damage in children, canine cancers, and infertility, dementia, and several cancers in adults.
Family-safe Cedarcide Original is a non-toxic insecticide that won’t expose your family or pets to harmful chemicals, or pollute your home’s air quality. Whenever you see unwelcome bugs inside your home, deliver a quick spray for instant results. To protect your family and pets from bug bites, apply before outdoor activities in potentially bug-infested areas.
To help prevent pests from moving indoors in the first place, spray common trouble spots and known entry points weekly with Cedarcide Original.
They look like something out of a sci-fi movie or horror flick. They literally have the word “murder” in their name. They pack one of the most painful and deadly stings on the planet. At roughly 2 inches, the Asian giant hornet, aka “murder hornet,” is currently the most talked about and feared bug on the planet—and now it’s in the United States.
You’ve probably heard tons about these terrifying insects already, seen dozens of stories in your social media feeds, local news reports, people at work won’t quit talking about it. But what’s the big deal? Why does it matter that this invasive species has found its way across the ocean and into our own backyards? Here’s the answer:
This somewhat dramatic fact is one of the main reasons for all the murder hornet commotion. Likened to searing hot metal driven into your skin, the sting of the Asian giant hornet is infamously excruciating and occasionally lethal. While deaths are rare, reports indicate these mammoth hornets kill roughly 50 people annually across Japan alone.
The truth is unless you live in Washington State (where the first U.S. “murder hornet” sightings have occurred), you almost certainly do not have to worry about getting stung. Even if you do and even if you were to get stung, it’s very unlikely you would suffer a life-threatening reaction. Our children, the elderly, and our pets are at the highest risk of experiencing a potentially fatal “murder hornet” encounter.
Environmental changes and broad, indiscriminate pesticide use have crippled our globe’s bee populations for decades to come (since 2012, beekeepers have reported annual hive losses from 29-45%). The last thing our pollinating friends need is another enemy—and then here comes the Asian giant hornet, ruthlessly efficient killer of bee colonies.
During the last weeks of summer and early fall, Asian giant hornets are known to work in groups to strike at the nests of other social insects, including vital honey bees. This so called “slaughter and occupation phase” sees the “murder hornets” living up to their name, often decapitating and dismembering an entire colony in just a few short hours. Apart from the devastating environmental effects, thriving murder hornet populations could have a massive impact on our country’s agricultural system, too, which depends largely on pollinators like honey bees. The financial toll of this impact could be severe, more on that next.
The USDA estimates about 35% of the world’s food crops rely directly on pollinators like honey bees to reproduce. Similarly, 1 out of every 3 bites of food in American is linked to honey bee pollination. In other words, if these “murder hornets” set up shop in the U.S., further debilitating local bee populations, it could potentially cost our country billions in economic hardship, to say nothing of the damage to residents’ personal lawns and gardens.
“People are afraid of the wrong thing. The scariest insects out there are mosquitoes. People don’t think twice about them. If anyone’s a murder insect, it would be a mosquito.”
The above words by University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum are something we should all take to heart. Bottom line: Mosquitoes are a much more serious and imminent threat to our families and pets than Asian giant hornets.
SOME FACTS TO CONSIDER:
- “Murder hornets” only sting when provoked. Mosquitoes require no such provocation and bite freely when they require a blood meal.
- Asian giant hornets kill at most 50-100 people across the globe annually. The World Health Organization estimates Mosquitoes are responsible for roughly millions of deaths each year, mostly by helping spread diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and rarer illnesses such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
- Lastly and perhaps most crucially, there are currently thousands of species of mosquitoes throughout the U.S., a population size whose individuals outnumber our own. Think about that: during mosquito season, there are more mosquitoes on the planet than humans, more than almost any other animal on the planet. Murder hornets, on the other hand, are limited to just a few known individuals in Washington State alone.
From mosquitoes, ants and chiggers to tick and fleas, bugs can ruin an otherwise peaceful lawn. Pool parties, BBQs and other backyard festivities are much less fun once the biting insects and other creepy crawlies show up. They’re not just nuisances either, bugs like mosquitoes and ticks for instance carry harmful diseases that put both your family and pets’ lives at risk. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these family-safe, pet-safe tips to bug-proof your yard without harsh chemicals
Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward protecting your lawn & garden against pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, chiggers and more. Here’s where to start:
- Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (mosquitoes use stagnant water to breed).
- Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight can be lethal to many bugs, like termites, chiggers, scorpions and more.
- Many bugs need lush vegetation to hide, so regularly mow, edge, weed eat, rake, and trim the hedges.
- When mowing, bag the clippings and dispose of them. Do not disperse them onto your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
- Clean bird baths regularly, or empty them during mosquito season.
- Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water.
- Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
- Cover all trash cans and dumpsters.
Traditional pesticides threaten not only the health of your yard, but also your family and pets. When treating your lawn, it’s important to go with a naturally sourced alternative. (Tip: The best time to treat is early morning or in the evening—this helps prevent evaporation, and gives the natural repellent/pesticide sufficient time to soak into your yard). Follow these guidelines:
- Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
- When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard, including all fencing, foundations. and brick barriers. This will help prevent bugs from re-entering your yard after treatment.
- Spray front, back, and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of the yard.
- During the spring and summer months, we advise spraying your yard at least once per month, or more often as needed.
A repellent barrier (like those made from cedar chips) is an easy way to repel bugs from your yard. For this approach: Surround your lawn and garden with a thick perimeter of dry mulch (anywhere from 1-3 ft.). Do not use damp mulch, as it can actually help attract some types of bugs.
Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our yards. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this process easier.
Wild animals are one of the primary ways bugs enter your yard. Treating and keeping your lawn maintained as discussed above is the first step to making your yard inhospitable to wild animals like bug-carrying rodents. From deer to possums to raccoons, here’s what you need to do to keep unwanted animals out of your yard
- Become a dog owner. Dogs and dog urine deter wild animals, as canines are a natural predator to many animals.
- Consider installing fencing. If you already use fencing, check it thoroughly for holes, cracks and other openings animals might use to enter you yard.
- Consider replacing plants that attract animals to your yard, such as roses, apples, beans, peas, strawberries, corn, chrysanthemums, tulips and more. Or, install chicken wire fencing around your garden.
- Because ticks are especially dangerous, consider installing deer-repelling plants, such as iris, sage, chives, lemon balm, lilac, holly, and more.
- Remove or repair sources of unnecessary moisture—such as standing water, leaking plumbing, drains, gutters, and sprinkler systems.
- Firmly secure trash cans and trash can lids, or start storing trash cans in a garage or other outbuilding.
- For more tips on keeping animals out of your lawn & garden click here.