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.
Imagine this: You wake up, prep your morning coffee, glance out the kitchen window to admire your well kept lawn—and bam! It’s all gone. Where there was once a beautiful stretch of green grass there is now an ugly patch of brown. Unfortunately, if you’re facing fall armyworms this nightmare can quickly become a reality. It’s not unheard of for armyworms to devour an entire lawn overnight. One moment your lawn and garden are intact, the next you’re left with a backyard full of dirt.
Especially problematic in the South, Fall armyworms are the larvae of a small brown moth that lays its eggs in grass, crops and other greenery. Once hatched, these small green caterpillars begin feeding on nearby plant life, and can devastate an entire lawn or field of crops in days, sometimes hours depending on the size of the armyworm population. Unfortunately for your yard, these populations can get out of hand fast, as female moths can lay up to 2,000 eggs in a single night. Once matured, these caterpillars change appearance, going from green to brown with white lines running along the side of their bodies. Because several damaging species go by the popular name armyworm, if you spot caterpillars in your yard, regardless of appearance, you need to act fast to preserve the health of your yard.
Here are 6 natural approaches to tackling these nasty pests:
For whatever reason, armyworms tend to avoid moist lawns with shorter grass. Keeping your lawn a little shorter throughout fall, and watering soon after each mowing session, can help prevent an armyworm population from flourishing in your yard.
These tiny wasps have a long history of use in natural pest control because they attack the eggs of many damaging bugs, armyworm eggs included. Trichogramma wasps can be found at many local garden supply shops and countless online retailers. This approach works best in the early stages of an armyworm issue, as this method will address armyworm eggs only, not recently hatched or mature caterpillars. Green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, ladybugs and other beneficial egg-feeding insects are also effective
If your yard has never been the victim of armyworms, chances are natural predators like birds are to thank. Which means If you’re currently struggling with armyworms, you can alleviate the situation by inviting these predators back into your lawn. Bird feeders and bird baths are the most obvious choices and tend to work wonders. This natural approach can be a real time saver and is usually quite effective, given that birds target both the armyworm moth and the subsequent caterpillars
Naturally sourced outdoor pesticides—like those made with all natural cedarwood oil—can be effective at both preventing and killing active armyworm populations, without using the harsh chemicals associated with traditional pesticide use. Apply at the first sign of trouble, whether that be armyworm moths, eggs, or immature caterpillars.
This bacterium is a popular and eco-friendly way of naturally ridding your lawn of armyworms. Typically applied to yards as a spray, bacillus thuringiensis works by paralyzing the armyworm digestive system, eventually killing them via starvation. Best of all, this bacterium is not harmful to beneficial insects, humans, pets or other wildlife. This method works best when used in the early stages of an armyworm problem, when the caterpillars are small, green and immature. Bacillus thuringiensis can be purchased from local gardening stores and countless vendors online.
As one of the most well known biological pesticides, beneficial nematodes work to combat dozens of unwanted pests. After applied to the yard, these near microscopic roundworms parasitize armyworms and armyworm eggs without affecting humans, plants or beneficial insects.