Well, it’s getting to be that time of the year. You have noticed or will be noticing a lot of different types of insects that appear to be sunbathing on your outdoor walls, screens, windows and doors.
These insects are trying to tell you something. They are telling you that it is getting cold outside and they need to find a place to spend the winter. You probably have noticed that the mice have been looking for a winter home, and now, it is the insects’ turn to find a home.
October is usually the month that we hear people talking about all the insects clustered on the outside of the house. The insects may be crawling around the outside of the house, or they may be just lying there on all the outside surfaces.
As I said, once we get a few cold nights and a few cold days, the insects are preparing to find a place to spend the winter months. Often, the insects will find a tree with some openings on the bark. They will crawl into those openings to spend the winter. To many of those insects, your home is just a big tree with many areas that they can crawl into to get out of the elements.
Many of you have garages. The insects will crawl under the garage door and then climb up onto the walls or into corners to spend the winter.
It is also likely that as they are crawling around outside, they will explore along the roof line looking for a way into the attic. It doesn’t take much of an opening for them to crawl into the attic. If you have a loose piece of molding or a piece that is a bit warped, the insects will sneak in and spend the winter in the attic.
They may also crawl along any of the pipes that go into the cellar and wind up spending the winter in the cellar. If you open the windows in the house and you have loose-fitting screens or no screens, they will crawl into the main part of the house.
All in all, whenever the insects show up looking for a place to live for the winter, people tend to freak out over them coming into any part of the house. They will get out some type of bug spray to kill the insects. Yet, the next day, the insects are back in the house. At this time of the year, it is an ongoing battle.
People worry that the insects will set up permanent “nests” in the house, and those insects will eat the wood or wind up biting the people who live in the house. The truth is, the vast majority of the insects are fairly benign. They want a place to sleep for the winter, and come the spring, they just want to go back outside for the season.
If you get the insects in your house, you can get a vacuum cleaner and suck them up and then put them back outside. If there are individual insects, you can take a piece of tissue, scoop them up and put them back outside. Many people will decide to kill the insects that are inside. Many of these insects will release a foul smell if crushed. The act of crushing them may also stain surfaces.
Flies, ladybugs, stink bugs and a host of other insects will be looking for a way to get into your home to spend the winter. If you can minimize the places that they can come into your home, they will find other places to spend the season.
You just need to think of this as an annual event that you can live with, or you should take the time to close up as many “openings” as you can into your home. Either way, come the spring, the migration of these insects outside will begin again, and soon, the house will be free of these insects.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.
Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years.