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.
So you noticed a hole in one of your sweaters, or maybe just a single moth flying around your home. These might not seem like a big deal, but they’re a sign you have a moth problem, and if you don’t act quickly things could get expensive and fast.
Don’t panic, moths aren’t fun but with the right knowhow you can save your clothing and other valuables from damage and get rid of your moths in no time. Old school methods like mothballs—which are notoriously harmful to our pets and families—simply aren’t the way to go. In fact, you’re usually better off living with moths than filling your home with naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, the active ingredients in mothballs, which have been linked to countless scary side effects. So skip the poisonous stuff, and let’s solve your moth problem without harmful chemicals.
Taking a few simple precautions can help ensure you never deal with moths or their damaging habits again. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- Basic housekeeping is essential to moth prevention. Regularly dust, clean, and vacuum flooring, rugs, moldings, furniture, etc to help keep your home free of moth attractants like dirt, dust, and food debris.
- Like any other pest, moths sometimes enter our homes simply by flying or crawling inside. Ensure all doorways, windows, and screens are in good working order and firmly sealed. Address cracks, holes and other potential entry points both inside and outside your home by using caulk or another appropriate sealant.
- Moths often hitch a ride into our homes by hiding out in used clothing, antique furniture, old rugs and stuffed animals, even your weekly groceries. Carefully inspect these items for eggs, webbing, caterpillars, damage, and other signs of moths before purchasing and bringing them into your house.
- Moths are much more likely to enter your closet or storage space if the items inside are dirty. Moths are strongly drawn to sweat, hair, skin oils, and food and drink stains. If you launder or dry clean items before storing or hanging them in your closet, you’ll enjoy far fewer moth problems in the long run.
- Additionally, when storing items away for longer periods of time, always use airtight plastic containers. Moth caterpillars can easily chew through other options like cardboard.
- Moths love dark, humid environments, so do your best to keep your closet on the cool side and well ventilated.
- Cedar and cedarwood oil are known to kill and repel moths, moth caterpillars, and eggs. Switching your clothes hangers to cedar and hanging Cedar Granules in your closet using a sock or stocking can do wonders for preventing costly moth issues.
So you have a moth problem on your hand. What now? First thing’s first: let’s protect your clothing and other valuables from damage.
First, you’ll need to remove any moth caterpillars, adults, and eggs that might currently be on or in your clothing, rugs, or other textiles. Don’t worry, it’s quite straight forward. All you need to do is take all the items suspected of infestation and wash & dry them on warm settings. Dry cleaning will do the trick, too. Freezing these items for 24-48 hours is also effective, although usually less convenient.
Next, thoroughly vacuum all potentially moth-infested areas like closets and storage spaces. Make sure to target carpets, rugs, drapery, and other fabrics, as well as any walls or baseboards that display signs of moths, such as webbing or caterpillars. After you’re done, make sure to throw the bag outside immediately to prevent possible re-infestation.
Lastly, wash and scrub all hard surfaces within potentially infested spaces with a family-safe cleaner to remove any hard to see eggs or grime (moths often leave a dusty, musty film throughout storage areas).
Now that you know how to prevent moth problems and how to save your clothing and other valuables from damage, it’s time to finally kill and repel those pesky moths.
As mentioned above, using Cedar Granules by hanging them in a sock or stocking can be very effective at repelling and removing moths from unwanted areas. Just remember to replenish the Cedar Granules about every 6-8 weeks. For best results, spritz walls, baseboards, and clothing racks within storage spaces with our non-toxic repellent Cedarcide Original. Repeat this process every 2-3 weeks, or more often as needed for ongoing moth problems.
Our pet and family-safe insecticide, Cedarcide Original, is excellent for solving moth problems quickly, killing not just adults but also moth caterpillars and eggs. Simply spray any adults, caterpillars, or eggs you see with Cedarcide Original and that’s all there is to it. Thoroughly spritz the walls, baseboards, ceiling, and flooring of infested spaces like closets to take care of any hidden caterpillars, eggs, and adults, too
Finding unexpected damage on your clothing, curtains, carpet or furniture? You could have carpet beetles. Often confused with bed bugs, carpet beetles don’t bite, sting, or spread disease, but they can cause a lot of damage—and fast. Infamous for their voracious appetite, these fast-breeding pests will eat just about anything made of natural fibers, including you and your pets’ bedding, rugs, furniture, leather items, furs, feathers, and flooring. Here are several non-toxic tips to kill and repel carpet beetles naturally, and to protect your home from carpet beetle damage.
Sometimes black but usually patterned with white, yellow, brown or orange coloring, carpet beetles are oval in shape and very small (1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long). Apart from the beetles themselves, there are several symptoms of a carpet beetle infestation. Here’s what to look for:
- Holes and lines of damage on rugs, clothing, bedding, furniture, taxidermy, etc, is the most obvious and common sign of carpet beetles.
- Light brown pieces of shed skin (these look like small bug shells). Check for these skins underneath rugs, within blankets, inside the folds of clothing and furniture, and on flooring where dust and hair tend to collect
- Carpet beetle larvae, which are typically longer than adults and covered in hair.
- Fecal pellets, which are about the size of a grain of salt.
- Again, also look for adult carpet beetles, which are normally found on walls near sources of light and window sills.
Whether you already have carpet beetles or worried you might soon, prevention should be your top priority. Here are the best practices for preventing carpet beetles.
- Cleanliness and organization are absolutely vital—this cannot be stressed enough. Carpet beetles eat everything from textiles and poorly stored food to dust bunnies, cobwebs, birds and wasps nests.
- Vacuum your home at least once a week. For ongoing carpet beetle infestations, go with daily.
- Launder dirty clothing and bedding at least once every two weeks. Used laundry items attract carpet beetles.
- Before bringing any plants into your home, check them for carpet beetles.
- Thoroughly wash and then seal all out-of-season clothing, blankets, and fabrics in airtight containers. For infested fabrics, wash and launder them on high heat.
- Ensure all doors, windows, and other possible entry points are properly sealed. Install new screens, door seals, and use caulk as needed.
- When possible, choose synthetic fabrics over natural ones, especially for rugs, furniture, and carpeting—carpet beetles are only attracted to organic materials.
- Carpet beetles can enter our homes by hitching a ride on our pets. Apply a pet-safe bug repellent, like Cedarcide Original, to your cat or dog every few days just in case.
Now that you know how to spot and prevent carpet beetles, here’s what you need to do to get rid of them:
Glue traps are useful against carpet beetles in two ways. Firstly, they can help you identify and gauge the seriousness of a carpet beetle infestation. Secondly, they serve as a non-toxic approach to decreasing carpet beetle populations in your home.
Made with hormones designed to attract carpet beetles, these glue traps should be placed in the areas of your home where you’re seeing the most carpet beetle activity (damage and actual beetles). Check the traps every other day or so and replenish as needed. Carpet beetle glue traps can be purchased at pest control supply stores and online.
As mentioned in the prevention section above, cleanliness is arguably the most important factor in carpet beetle control. Carpet beetles can survive on a wide array of natural items—including hair, lint, dust, rugs, carpets, clothing, food residue, plant debris, dead animals and their nests, and more. Daily cleaning is necessary to remove these potential sources of food from your home.
For best results, pay special attention to areas where dust and other debris tend to accumulate in your home, such as baseboards, under tables and cabinets, and other nooks & crannies.
Apart from contributing to cleanliness, daily vacuuming can help remove carpet beetle eggs, larvae, and adults from your home. In addition to flooring, make sure to vacuum all rugs and upholstered furniture as needed. For heavily infested spaces, vacuuming twice a day might be even better. Just be sure to discard the bag in an outside trash can or thoroughly clean it after each use.
There are several ways to deal with infested items like clothing, furniture, rugs, and flooring:
- You can simply wash and dry them on warm temperatures (or dry clean).
- If rugs or clothing are heavily infested and damaged, you might want to consider throwing them away.
- You can freeze infested items in a freezer for 72 hours to kill eggs, larvae, and adult carpet beetles.
The bottom line: If you have items suspected of infestation, you need to take at least one of the above actions.
Many companies offer products or services that use harsh chemicals to help consumers get rid of their carpet beetles. While these toxic insecticides often work, they also expose your family and pets to highly dangerous poisons. The truth is, you can get the same results with safer, naturally-sourced pest control products.
After choosing a family-safe, pet-safe pest control product, you’ll want to apply it strategically. Pay special attention to areas that collect dust and lint, under furniture, around doors and windows, as well closets, and around the edges of carpeting. For larger infestations where eggs and larvae are hidden all throughout the home, fogging may be necessary. Repeat applications as needed.
A naturally occurring non-toxic pesticide, diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating insects that come into contact with it. Dust food-grade DE throughout trouble areas like window sills, rugs, carpeting, closets, along baseboards, etc. Once you get your carpet beetle issue under control, DE can be easily removed with your vacuum cleaner. Although it’s chemical-free, we suggest wearing a mask when applying because it is a powder.
Steam is deadly for carpet beetles, their eggs, and larvae. Steaming flooring, rugs, curtains, upholstered furniture, and other vulnerable spaces and items is a quick and efficient way to control carpet beetles. You can do this on your own with a personal steamer or go with a professional. Repeat weekly as needed.
Limiting their food source can greatly improve a carpet beetle infestation. To start, store and seal all out-of-season clothing, bedding, and other natural textiles (again, carpet beetles are not attracted to synthetic materials). Make sure to deep clean all items before storing them away, and also to clean all other fabrics in affected areas as outlined above.
Cleanliness is a big part of removing the carpet beetles’ food source, too. Again, carpet beetles are known to eat lint, dust, pet hair, and other dead bugs—basically all the most common ingredients of household dirt and grime. Keeping your home free of these food sources will have a big impact on your carpet beetle struggles.
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.
They sure do! While these pests thrive in humid, warm conditions, they can also live (and bite!) throughout the winter.
It’s true they cannot endure freezing weather for extended periods, but they often find ways to survive anyway. In fact, some species of ticks are most active in winter. Adult blacklegged ticks, for example, take their first blood meals during late fall or early winter. The winter tick is another especially durable individual, living exclusively during the year’s coldest months.
Whether hiding in leaf litter, attaching to a warm host, or overwintering in a garage or animal den, fleas and ticks have several methods for surviving freezing conditions.
While fleas cannot hibernate or enter a dormant stage, ticks can. Going dormant on a host or under brush is actually a tick’s primary means of remaining alive through winter. Fleas, however, mostly seek warmth in shelters or hosts—like inside your home or on your pet.
Absolutely! Regardless of your environment, we suggest protecting your pets, home, lawn, and yourself from fleas and ticks year-round. The risks are simply too great. Halting pest prevention, even for just a few weeks, can have frightening results.
A single flea slipping through the cracks can lead to a full blown flea population in no time. Ticks are another matter entirely—we all know how dangerous they can be.
Prevention is your best friend when it comes to pest control. First, you need to ensure your home and yard are inhospitable to fleas and ticks. Start by removing all sources of clutter and debris from your lawn—this is where fleas and ticks will likely hide during cold snaps.
Next, use the Lawn & Garden Kit monthly to protect you, your family, pets, home and lawn from harmful bugs and dangerous bites. Apply all year-round unless your area experiences freezing conditions for several consecutive weeks. For warmer climates, we strongly advise applying all 12 months of the year.
For indoor prevention, spray possible trouble areas and entry points—like doorways, window sills, baseboards, attics, basements, etc—with family-safe Cedarcide Original weekly to create a repellent barrier against fleas and ticks. For more tips on preventing fleas and ticks from entering your home, click here.
For you and your pets, apply Cedarcide Original as needed before enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or visiting the dog park. For basic flea & tick prevention, apply Cedarcide Original every other day or more often as needed.