Fake spiderwebs during Halloween are a nice addition to your home’s décor. On the other hand, real spiderwebs indicate that you have a pesky problem on your hands. With Halloween over, you may notice this issue yourself. As the weather gets colder, spiders, centipedes, and other Fall insects are looking for a place to stay warm. Here’s what you can do to make sure that place isn’t your home.
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Rules of Thumb to Prevent Fall Insects
Clean and Declutter – Clutter and crumbs act as shelter and food for insects.
Seal Cracks and Gaps – Openings in your home such as unsealed windows are entry points for creatures to come out of the cold.
Do Some Simple Yardwork – Shrubs that brush up against your house make great pathways for bugs into your home. Insects also love to nest in piles of leaves during the Fall.
Keep Food Stored Off of Counters – Insects gravitate to any food source they can find, including items like fruit and bread left on top of counters.
Use Insecticide – Spraying a long-lasting repellent around the outside footprint of your home is a powerful deterrent.
Eliminate Moisture – Leaky pipes and damp rooms are a hotspot for many bugs.
Turn Off Outdoor Lights – Outdoor lights at night can attract moths as well as their prey.
Taking these measures can go a long way in preventing insects from getting into your home. However, if for some reason you didn’t have time to take these precautions, or they still managed to get through your defenses, here’s how to identify your intruder and get rid of them.
Identifying Common Bugs and How to Keep Them Away
Yes, we know that spiders aren’t actually insects, but because these creepy crawlers are such a prevalent nuisance, we couldn’t help but put them at the top of this list. You probably already know what these 8-legged arachnids look like, so we’ll just skip to how you can deter them from becoming your next unwanted guest.
Treatment: Remove webs inside the house, set spider traps, and spray a vinegar/water solution or peppermint oil in the corners of your home.
There’s a reason these triangular, marbled brown insects are called the stink bug. They aren’t harmful, unless you count the pungent smell they release when they are threatened. These bugs are often found on window screens and curtains. Stink bugs are most active during the Fall and can be found all over the United States, so keep an eye (and nose) out for these smelly creatures.
If you have them: Experts have found that rubbing a dryer sheet on surfaces acts as a deterrent.
Western Conifer Seed Bugs
It’s not uncommon to confuse this next one with the previous entry on the list. However, on second glance, you’ll notice the western conifer seed bug is thinner and longer than its counterpart. You can also identify it by its thicker back legs. These insects make a loud buzzing noise and are notoriously difficult to eliminate.
Treatment: Call a professional exterminator.
Like stink bugs, boxelder bugs produce a powerful smell when disturbed. This creature looks very beetle-like and is dark brown or black with red markings. If you see one boxelder bug, chances are there are plenty more close by as they are often found in a swarm. Once the colder months hit, boxelder bugs will leave their nests inside of trees and search for a new dwelling, often leading them into homes.
Solution: According to the USDA, don’t reach for the pesticide. Instead, spray them with a solution of soap and water.
Seeing a ladybug outside is a delightful sign of good luck. Seeing an army of them in your home is exactly the opposite. Red in color and with black spots on their back, ladybugs tend to find their way into garages, attics, and even in window and door frames during the fall season.
Treatment: Use cloves or bay leaves as a repellent or sweep them up and release them outside.
Out of all the multi-legged insects on this list, this one takes first prize. The centipede looks a bit like a worm if that worm grew 30 legs. Centipedes can be helpful by eating other pests such as spiders or cockroaches that come looking for shelter from the cold; however, that doesn’t make them any less of a pest themselves. In fact, centipedes have ranked in the top 10 of the United States’ most hated bugs.
If you have them: call a professional exterminator.
This next bug is the silverfish, named for its similarity to a fish in its silvery exterior and swaying movement. You may have seen these before lurking in bathtubs, sinks, or other moist places. These small, wingless creatures may look harmless enough, but they can wreak havoc in your closet. Holes in your cotton or silk shirts may be due to a silverfish gnawing on the fibers of it.
Solution: spot-treat the area with insecticide.
Crickets quietly chirping outside at night can be relaxing. But that doesn’t mean you want them hopping around your living room. If you see a black cricket in your home, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible. They not only make a meal out of clothing, but they only need a span of two weeks to breed and lay eggs.
Treatment: Set cricket traps around your home. Make sure they are non-toxic if you have pets or small children.
The dreaded cockroach Is a brown, oval-shaped bug with two long antennae. They’re attracted to moisture, decay, and food, so spaces like kitchen garbage bags are a paradise for cockroaches. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re also notoriously hated and for good reasons. Cockroaches are extremely difficult to get rid of and even spread disease and trigger asthma attacks. These insects are at the height of their population in Fall, so be on the lookout.
If you have them: Call a licensed exterminator to professionally handle them.
If you see tiny brown dots in your pet’s fur, chances are they have fleas. Research has shown that the flea count on animals during Fall is 70% higher than in the Spring. Fleas don’t just attach themselves to pets though. They can also attach themselves to your home’s carpet and furniture upholstery. Fleas can be harmful to both pets and humans as they are known carriers of disease.
Solution: Do a deep clean of your home by vacuuming your carpet, steam cleaning upholstery, and washing all bedding. You may have to do this repeatedly. Make sure to properly wash yourself and pets as well.
A Home Free of Fall Insects
As the temperatures drop, many fall insects are looking to welcome themselves into your home. Luckily with these tips, you now know how to kick them to the curb and keep them from ever returning.