Especially in the late summer and early fall months, many of us find insects making their way into our homes. Whether for shelter from the weather, or our abundant food sources, our homes have excellent nooks and crannies for crawlers and buzzers to call their own. While most insects are easily controlled, some are far more pesky than others. Here are three insects to watch out for this season.
But First, Bug Proof!
Before we talk about individual ways to keep certain insects out of your home, we need to talk about general bug-proofing of your home. It’s fall, and it can be quite tempting to leave your door open and let in a cool breeze. Unfortunately, this is a golden opportunity for insects to make their way into your home. For this reason, it is worthwhile to either avoid this all together, or to get a bug screen for doors in your house. Taking this step, along with checking the caulk and sealing around your windows and door frames can help you make sure that there is minimal insect entry.
Now, onto some pesky insects to keep an eye out for this season.
While there are plenty of different types of ants, these insects are fantastic communicators. Unfortunately, when you see a few ants in your home, it typically means the colony is nearby. Ants are usually drawn to a food source, which is the number one way they will end up in your home. Leaving food out in accessible places (such as low tables, crumbs on the floor, leaky trash cans, etc.) will draw in scout ants, and then you will quickly find a colony in your home.
If you see ants in your house, especially if they are carrying food, immediately utilize a bug spray, natural repellant, or even ant traps. This is a problem that you need to jump onto from the start.
If you continue to see more and more ants, don’t hesitate to seek out a more extreme method, such as more specialized ant traps and poisons, or even an exterminator.
Elm Seed Bugs
If you live in the United States, especially in the northwestern, or southwestern regions, you may have discovered a new beetle that looks a little bit unfamiliar, but is showing up everywhere. Chances are this is the elm seed bug. Elm seed bugs look similar to boxelder bugs but have longer bodies with brown and red striping. They grow to be a little larger than a fingernail as adults, and, you guessed it, populate around elm trees.
The real difficulty with these beetles is that they are an invasive species to the Americas. Elm seed bugs are native to northern Europe, and were first seen in the western Americas between 2013 and 2017. They have now spread to a number of states, following an invasive species of elm tree that has been planted across the west as well. Because of these, we are still figuring out how to keep them out of our homes.
Here is why you really need to keep an eye out for these bugs, even though they don’t pose any direct danger to humans. Elm seed bugs leave behind a stench when they find a cool place to hide from the heat. These bugs do not survive well in heats over 80 degrees, and let the others of their species know when they have found a refuge. Because of this, your home can get “marked” by elm seed bugs, drawing hundreds, and even thousands of them to your home. It is incredibly difficult to remove this “mark.”
Thus, if you see an elm seed bug in your home, vacuum it up immediately, and put it into soapy water. This is the best way to get rid of these bugs early on, as when they die they release a stench that smells similar to rotten almonds. This stench can also draw in more of their kind. If the issue persists, consider utilizing a diatomaceous earth, and resealing your home.
While spiders do not usually invade homes in hordes, depending on where you live, some spiders leave bites that are not only annoying, but dangerous. If you see a spider in your home, it is always important to identify it to determine what type of danger its bite may pose.
When it comes to disposing of spiders, we recommend that you either vacuum them up, or use a spray that ensures if there are multiples that they are all quickly removed.
When it comes to keeping spiders out, a great way is to utilize peppermint oil around the nooks and crannies of your house, or to even place some in an oil diffuser, as peppermint and mint are incredibly successful spider repellants.
While there are a few more insects out there, these are the ones to watch out for this season, and with these tips, you will be able to keep your home bug free!