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Return of the Fall Invaders

(Get rid of Lady Bugs, Box elder bugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, and kudzu bugs)

03/04/2011

I know what you’re thinking, “Why is this moron writing about bugs that enter the home in the fall? Doesn’t he know it’s March?” Well, let me explain. We get a lot of calls this time of year about lady bugs, box elder bugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, and kudzu bugs. These bugs, commonly called “fall invaders”, rear their ugly heads and become a real nuisance during the spring. Our callers are understandably annoyed by the presence of these bugs, and they want them gone ASAP.

Trouble is, fall invaders are not easy to eliminate once you start seeing them in the spring. The trick is to prevent them from entering the structure in the fall. This is accomplished by spraying the outside perimeter of the home. You see, these fall invader insects try to stay warm when it starts getting cold by clustering on the sides of homes and other buildings, particularly on the south and west exposures. The afternoon sun warms the exterior walls, making a very cozy spot for our little intruders. These bugs will eventually work their way into the walls and attic through small cracks or crevices, door jams, attic vents, and other gaps in the structure. They are seeking a suitable place to stay warm and spend the winter.

Once inside these invader insects go dormant, and fully expect to stay that way until spring. The problem is, every time there is a warm, sunny winter day, their hiding spot warms up. It’s spring! Well, maybe not…

After spending months tucked away in the walls or the attic, they have simply forgotten how they got into the structure. In their effort to get back outside, they accidently end up inside the home. They don't want to be inside. They are just looking for a way to get outside. This may happen all at once in the spring, or happen sporadically throughout the winter and spring. It all depends on the weather.

Once bugs, box elder bugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, and kudzu bugs have entered the home, there aren't a lot of treatment options. One way to remove them once they are indoors is with a vacuum cleaner. Since they are attracted to bright lights they will usually end up around light fixtures and windows. If there are large numbers of them flying around, Window Fly Traps are a good non-toxic, sticky trap that uses the naturally occurring window light to lure them to the trap. Clever huh?

In the chemical realm there is an aerosol spray called CB-80 Extra that can be used indoors against a wide variety of insects. Pyrethrins are natural insecticides found in certain varieties of chrysanthemums grown and harvested in Africa, and Australia. Pyrethrins have a low level of toxicity and can be safely used in the home.

PREVENTION, however, is the best of all choices. To help prevent stink bugs, lady bugs, cluster flies, box elder bugs and similar pests from entering your home in the fall, treat the outside perimeter with a good all purpose concentrate, such as Cyonara 9.7, Cyzmic CS, or Bifen IT. This should be done in the fall. Spray the south and west exposure of the house from the ground up, as high as you can go. One or two applications in the fall will prevent the problem from occurring.