Fall is typically a very pleasant time of year for people to spend time outdoors. But it's also a time when many pest are busy looking for a drier and more comfortable place to spend the winter. It's at this time that they start gathering on the outside of homes and other buildings, and can invade in huge numbers.
Fall invading insects enter through any exterior crevice or other opening. But they gradually move deeper indoors during the months ahead, attracted to the warmth and lights indoors, until they "spill out" into interior rooms.
Here are some of the fall invaders:
Asian lady beetles-This orange beetle with black spots was brought into this country to feed on agricultural pests, but they move indoors in the fall in droves, leaving orange-colored stains.
Stink bugs-We've always had stink bugs, but the new brown marmorated stink bug is a much more serious pest that is spreading, smells horrible, and often invades in large numbers.
Cluster flies-There are several species of these flies, and along with face flies the adults can invade in huge numbers in the fall. Cluster fly maggots parasitize earthworms.
Rats and mice- One by one, these rodents that had been living outdoors start coming indoors in the fall and early winter.
Other fall invaders are boxelder bugs, elm leaf beetles, wasp and yellowjacket queens, crickets, earwigs, entire ant colonies, various wild animals, and many other pests.
Other regular treatments are needed to prevent these pests from invading in the fall and winter. With some pests, additional special treatments are needed.
Moisture Sources That Lead to Decay
Wood decay is the single most common structural problem in homes, costing owners billions of dollars a year. We have found that much of the damage could have been prevented or repaired at a relatively minor cost if it had been detected early. That's why a small investment in having us do a professional inspection that finds wood decay and wood destroying pests often pay huge dividends.
Here are a few of the many ways moisture gets to wood, causing wood decay and attracted wood-destroying pests like termites and carpenter ants:
- Direct soil contact. Whenever wood touches soil directly it will soak up any available moisture.
- wood seepage. Water most easily seeps into the ends of boards and where they are joined together, such as at the edge of a roof, house corners, and especially around door and window frames.
- Plumbing leaks. A common problem that can cause constant wetting and encourage wood decay.
- Condensation. This can happen in many places around a home-often around windows and under homes built a crawl space, especially if ventilation is poor due to an inadequate number of blocked vents.
- Roof water. Water may get inside a leaky roof or get backed up in clogged rain gutters and flow onto wood. The water may seep back under a foundation if it is dumped at the base wall.
Termites Are Arriving on Ships
The extremly destructive Formosan termite, originally from China, is spreading in this country. But that's not the only termite from another continent that has invaded the United States. Florida, the state with more new termites than any other state, now has six new termite species that weren't around a century ago.
How are these termites getting here? It has been suspected that many new termites species have come to our country on infested ships. One study showed there is a strong correlation between Formosan termite infestations and how far it is to where ships dock on the ocean.
Now a new study has confirmed that many termite infestations on boats and ships moored a U.S. docks are new termite species. This is especially true for boats registered in other countries, but U.S. vessels may become infested with new species if they have traveled to other countries and returned. While docked here, winged reproductive termites may emerge from these on-board infestations, fly to land, and start new colonies. It appears that requiring more thorough inspections of these ships is needed to prevent additional termite species from gaining a foothold here.
Stinky Socks Attract Mosquitoes
You may want to leave the room when you smell stinky socks, but mosquitoes are actually attracted to them!
Research showed a number of years ago that smelly feet are highly attractive to mosquitoes. They also discovered that limburger cheese, which smells somewhat like smelly feet, is also very attractive. Actually, some of the same microorganisms that cause feet to smell also give limburger cheese its delicious taste and smell.
The smelly foot odor is easily transferred to socks, making stinky socks very attractive to mosquitoes. Studies in Tanzania are now testing dirty socks to lure mosquitoes to traps. The smelly socks are a cheaper attractant than expensive chemical baits, and preliminary test have shown they are just as alluring.
Mosquitoes transmit a wide variety of pathogens here and around the world. About 800,000 people die from mosquito-transmitted malaria.
Pest Prevention Tip of the Month
Pet food and water left out overnight invites trouble with pests, so remove it nightly. Raccoons, rodents, and many insect pests such as cockroaches and ants actually learn where to look for food, and will return each night for another feast.