Cool weather signals homeowners to finalize outdoor chores and cozy up for the long winter ahead. It also signals pesky insects to head indoors seeking food sources and warm, safe places to hibernate. What can the smart homeowner do?
Experts say the record-breaking summer heat has created a bumper crop of bugs. Ohio State University entomologist David Denlinger predicts, “If the warmth stays into the fall, insects will continue to do well until frost comes.”
Unwelcome invasive pests like silverfish, spiders, earwigs, flies and ants are typical party crashers once temperatures fall.
In the late 1990s a new pest appeared on the scene: the brown marmorated stink bug. First spotted in Pennsylvania, stink bugs are now in 38 states, destroying gardens and landscapes and overwintering in homes.
To protect your home from unwanted pests, industry experts share these simple eco-friendly tips to keep pesky insects at bay.
1. Clean up brush and keep mulch and firewood piles away from the house to avoid creating habitats for critters and insects.
2. Seal cracks, crevices and holes with caulk or weather stripping around potential entry points and seal around pipes and utilities. Repair loose roof tiles and screens. Inspect windows and basement foundations and repair loose and crumbling mortar.
3. Clean cupboard shelves of loose grain, starch-based and sugary food and place food in sealed containers or plastic bags.
4. Check where stink bugs hide: warm, dark spaces like baseboards, exhaust fans, ceiling tiles and drapes. Pick stink bugs off by hand with a tissue and flush them down a toilet or drop into a bucket of soapy water. If you vacuum, be warned. When threatened, stink bugs emit a foul odor so dispose of the bags immediately.
5. If ants are your problem, try herbs. Briscoe White, herb expert and owner of The Growers Exchange, says bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves repel ants outdoors and indoors. Sprinkle dry crushed herbs around points of entry, cabinets and windowsills to create a natural barrier. Plus, peppermint and spearmint are excellent deterrents against both ants and moths.