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EXTENSION NEWS: Prevent outdoor insects from moving indoors

By Jeremy Williams
Extension News

Fall is normally not the time that we see Asian Lady Beetles and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in the home, but now is the time to begin to prevent them from entering your home.

These beetles begin their journey in the next month to find a warm location for the winter.  Once inside the building, they will hold up for the winter and then make their way into the residential areas of the building during the late winter and early spring once the weather begins to warm up.

This usually occurs first on the sunnier, southwest side of the building.  As awakening beetles and stink bugs attempt to escape to the outdoors, some wander inward, emerging from behind baseboards, walls, attics, suspended ceilings, etc.

Since the lady beetles and stink bugs are attracted to light, they are often seen around windows and light fixtures.

The best way to prevent the beetles and stink bugs from entering your dwelling is to begin pest proofing your home now.  It’s best to deal with lady beetles outside before they enter your home.

Following these guidelines will help pest-proof your home or place of business. Several tips also will conserve energy and increase the comfort level this fall and winter.

Install door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors, paying particular attention to the bottom corners that are a common entry location.  Check for light entering under doors; this indicates possible pest entryways.

To close other potential pest entries, apply caulk on the bottom outside edges and sides of door thresholds. Fit garage doors with a rubber bottom seal because vinyl seals poorly in the winter. Seal gaps under sliding glass doors by lining the bottom track with foam weather stripping one-half to three-fourths inches wide.

Utility openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding are common entry points.  You can use caulk, cement, urethane expandable foam, steel wool and copper mesh to plug openings around outdoor faucets, receptacles, gas meters, clothes dryer vents and telephone or cable television wires.

Apply a good-quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk to cracks around windows, doors, fascia boards and other openings.  Before you apply the caulk, clean the existing caulk and remove any that’s peeling to aid adhesion.

To reduce the entry of lady beetles and other overwintering pests, repair gaps and tears in window and door screens.  Keep windows closed to prevent entry.

Another way to prevent pest entry is to apply an exterior (barrier) treatment with insecticides. To gain the most from this effort, apply long-lasting liquid formulations that contain synthetic pyrethroids.  These products are available at some hardware, lawn and garden shops.

If you apply the barrier treatment, use a compressed-air or hose-end sprayer to treat the base of all exterior doors, garage, crawl space entrances, foundation vents, utility openings and up beneath siding.  It’s also useful to treat the foundation outside perimeter with a two-to-six-foot wide band along the ground and two to three feet up the foundation wall.

If pests such as the Lady Beetle and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug are already inside the home, the best way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner.

Insecticide foggers or sprays are generally not recommended for eliminating the beetles indoors.  Beetles and stink bugs need to be sprayed directly or they have to crawl over a surface that is treated with an insecticide.  Using such applications will create pesticide residues on walls, counter tops and other surfaces.  Therefore, a vacuum cleaner is more sanitary and effective.

For more information, contact the Harlan County Cooperative Extension Service at 606-573-4464.

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