The warmup we experienced last Thursday, Friday and Saturday was a nice change of pace. My daughter and I built a fort in the backyard. My dogs sunbathed and barked at squirrels. My boyfriend took the Mustang out for a spin.
The warmer weather was nice for everyone; however, it reminded me we have some work to do. Obviously, the lawn will need mowed, the flower beds cleaned up, the garage tidied and the stink bugs excluded.
That last item may or may not be on your spring to-do list. Regardless, it’s important to bug-proof your home now, when Asian lady beetles and stink bugs are emerging from hibernation and leaving your home. Once they’ve cleared out, you can take steps to keep them from getting back in.
Stink bug sightings
Stink bugs tend to hibernate in groups. If you happened upon an isolated stink bug this winter, crawling across the ceiling or resting near the kitchen sink, chances are more were sleeping in your attic. The good news is they will find the exit on their own as the weather warms up.
Asian lady beetles are another invasive species that overwinters in much the same way. One bug usually means more. They can be stinky. They can stain your carpet or wall if they are crushed. And once they’ve decided to move in for the winter you’re stuck with them until spring.
Neither stink bugs nor Asian lady beetles have been known to cause damage to the homes they invade. They are not poisonous or carriers of human disease. They won’t get into your food. They will not reproduce or lay eggs indoors. Come spring, they will emerge and leave you alone — at least until next fall that is.
But do you really want them back in the fall? I don’t.
So how do we keep them from returning next winter?
The best way to keep stink bugs and lady beetles out of your house is to seal them out after they’ve vacated your home in late spring and summer. To seal them out, you have to locate potential openings they may be entering and exiting through. Here are some places to check:
- Your attic. Your attic is a good place to start looking for entry points. You can start by going up there during the daytime with all of the lights out. If you see any light coming in from outside, you’ve locked a potential opening for pests to use. You should also make sure your attic vents are screened to keep bugs out.
- Soffits. Your soffits may have bug-proof holes that let light in, which is fine. However, you need to make sure they meet the wall snuggly.
- Old Caulking. Check the outside of your home for areas where caulking is coming away from windows and doors.
- Cracks. Look for cracks in or around windows, doors, wires, soffits, fascia boards, siding, utility pipes, behind lighting fixtures and chimneys.
- Repair damaged screens. It’s also a good idea to repair any damaged screens in windows or attic vents.
- Exterior barrier treatment. Although stink bugs have shown resilience to pesticides, they can be effective in deterring lady beetles. If they are a yearly problem, you may want to consider using a perimeter treatment during late fall. Some examples of effective insecticides you can find at your local hardware store include those containing bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin and permethrin. Double-check to make sure the product you’ve selected is labeled for exterior use and apply it around doors, windows, rooflines and around your foundation.
Prevention is the best way to stop infestation and keep stink bugs and lady beetles out of your house. Take the time to look for entry points and seal them out this spring to save yourself from a headache in the fall.