Fall Invaders

Know what type of insects to be on the lookout for in Long Island homes during the cooler months.

The cooler weather is coming. The leaves will be falling from the trees. This can mean only one thing – insects will be looking for a way to get inside your home to spend the winter. “Fall Invaders Are Coming”!

Nature is wonderful. It has programmed certain insects to migrate into our homes when the temperatures begin to drop. Why? It’s simple! So they can survive the winter. Some insects migrate to warmer locations and some survive the winter by entering our heated homes and businesses to escape the cold winter temperatures.

In our area, Ladybugs, Western Conifer Seed Bugs, Brown Stink Bugs, Box Elder Bugs and Cluster Flies all migrate indoors to escape the winter temperatures. Their goal is to survive the harsh winter conditions and re-emerge in the spring to mate and lay eggs. While “hibernating”, these bugs do not eat anything or reproduce. However, the homeowner doesn’t want to see them in their home in the middle of winter!

Ladybugs

Ladybugs

Ladybugs are beetles. They develop through 4 life stages; egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The larvae and adult stages are welcomed in gardens because they eat aphids, a pest of many plants. These brightly colored red/orange beetles usually have black spots on the wing covers. The adults try to get indoors before the first frost. Very often ladybugs will be found in the attic where it is warm. One problem is the odor that these insects can produce when irritated. Furthermore, some people experience allergic reactions such as sneezing from exposure to Ladybugs. If you find these beetles inside your home use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. Discard the bag outside in the trash can. It is suggested all holes on the exterior of the home be sealed to deny these insects access into the house. Make sure all attic and soffit vents are in good condition as well as your window screens. Pesticides are not recommended for Ladybug control.

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer
Seed Bug

This fall invader lives outdoors during the summer months feeding only on the seeds and developing cones of several species of conifers (Pine Trees). They were originally found in Pennsylvania in 1992 and have since migrated northeast to NYC. The adults look to shelter in heated buildings during the winter. Seeing these large bugs flying or crawling inside your home in the dead of winter is very upsetting. However, these bugs cannot bite and do not cause any structural damage to the home. They do not eat or reproduce indoors. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove them from the home. Sticky traps work well in attics where children and pets cannot get to them.

Brown Stink Bug

Brown Stink Bug

This bug has become a fall invader in Queens. It is not native to the USA. It was accidently introduced into the US from China and Japan. It was first reported in 1998 in Allentown, PA. It has been found to be a pest of fruits, vegetables and other farm crops in the Mid-Atlantic States. It is being watched closely by the agricultural community to see if it will have a negative impact on certain crops. However, at present it is a nuisance pest that invades homes in the fall to spend the winter. Like many fall invaders, the stink bug does not reproduce or feed indoors. When crushed or disturbed it emits a stinky fluid. Hence, the name stink bug. Again, use a vacuum cleaner to remove these bugs from interior surfaces of homes. Keep window screens, attic and soffit vents in good repair to discourage these pests from entering the home in the fall. Pesticide applications are not recommended at this time.

Box Elder Bug

Box Elder Bug

Like all fall invaders the Box Elder Bug enters the home to spend the winter. You may find these bugs clustering in large numbers at the base of trees or you may spot them on the south (warmest) sides of buildings. These bugs do no structural damage nor do they bite. However, they can become a nuisance if they are present in large numbers on or inside structures. Besides Box Elder trees, these bugs can be found on Maple and Ash trees. Remove them with a vacuum cleaner and discard the bag outside in the trash. No need to apply a pesticide. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove them. Sticky traps may also be helpful in certain situations.

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