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.
Spiders are everywhere. A recent study found that on average each square meter on our planet contains approximately 130 spiders. Which means if you’re reading this in a cubicle or kitchen nook roughly the size of a mattress, you’re being watched by about 1,040 beady spider eyes right now!
Their vast numbers are shocking, but nothing compares to spiders’ appetites. Research has found that spiders consume upwards of 880 million tons of prey each year; by comparison all 7 billion humans on earth consume just 400 million tons of meat and fish combined. In fact, the amount of meat spiders consume each year outweighs the total biomass of all humans on our planet—in other words, spiders could, theoretically, consume every human on earth in just one year.
The numbers are shocking, but in truth, spiders are all but harmless to humans. Without question, our lives would be overrun with insects were it not for the spider, nature’s ruthlessly efficient exterminator. It’s for this reason that spiders are considered beneficial. And unless you’re absolutely terrified by them—or commonly seeing venomous individuals like black widows or brown recluses—we encourage you to leave them at their work. If you fall into the above category, though, we’ve got you covered. Here are 9 ways to get rid of spiders without harsh chemicals.
Clutter and disorganization are a spider’s best friend, giving them ample space to hide and hunt. Consistently vacuuming, dusting, wiping down countertops, and de-cluttering your house will deter both spiders and their insect prey.
When organizing your home, use sealable plastic containers instead of items like cardboard boxes, which do not adequately seal, providing spiders with yet another place to set up camp.
Brush, stacked wood, unused flower pots, gardening equipment—spiders will make a home out of any outdoor clutter. Unkempt shrubbery, trees, and overgrown gardens also make ideal homes. Removing unnecessary clutter and keeping the lawn trim will reduce your spider population.
Even the smallest openings are a welcome mat to spiders. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, chimneys, vents—all are potential spider entrances. Seal your home by remedying these openings using caulk (don’t forget to check basements and attics, too).
The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any cracks or holes in the foundation. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows, vents, chimneys, and doorways always remain firmly shut.
Traditional outdoor lights are irresistible to most insects, which makes them a dinner bell for spiders. Switching off these lights at night can do wonders for reducing spider populations. Indoor lights whose glow reaches outside are also a liability.
For the former, consider trading your bulbs for yellow sodium vapor lights (which do not attract insects). For the latter, plan on installing additional window dressing to limit indoor lights from bleeding outdoors.
The most effective method for deterring spiders is to remove their food source—this entails adopting a general insect control regimen, both inside and outside your home.
For outside: Using a non-toxic, plant-safe pesticide, thoroughly spray your entire yard, including all shrubbery, bases of trees, and anywhere else you think insects and spiders might be hiding. Repeat this process monthly—or more as needed—until you no longer see spider activity.
For indoors: Using a non-toxic pesticide/repellent, treat doorways, windowsills, baseboards and other suspected spider entry points. Continue treating these areas weekly until your spider problems are resolved.
Spiders can’t stand vinegar—in fact, a direct spray is often fatal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a safe, all natural spider repellent. Using a spray bottle, apply this solution to doorways, window sills, known spider hangouts, and other possible entry points once a week until your spider problem improves.
Spiders actively avoid the strong smell of peppermint, making it an effective solution for spider control. 5-10 drops of peppermint oil in 16 ounces of water will make a handy spider repellent you can use throughout the home. As with the aforementioned vinegar, spray this solution in and around possible entry points and spider problem areas.
Citrus oils and peels are a highly effective method for repelling spiders. With a lemon oil spray or actual citrus fruit peels, you can deter spiders from entering your home. Place fresh peels skin-side-down along window sills and other spider problem areas, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and shelving. (Tip: citrus peels can also be used in your garden to limit spider activity).
For spider control, this chalky natural pesticide does double duty—killing and repelling not only spiders, but also spider-attracting insects. DE is highly abrasive, containing nearly microscopic edges which injure bugs that come in contact with it. Placing DE along spider problem areas and potential entry points will keep spiders at a distance.