Roaches, mice and stink bugs, oh my! These are only a few of the common outdoor pests that like making their way indoors in the fall. Box elder bugs and spiders also excel at finding nooks and crannies in a structure that will provide shelter from cooler temperatures and precipitation.
As the weather begins to cool off, bugs will start looking for entry points into homes and businesses. The bad news is that because of how the food chain works, many of these bugs end up playing follow the leader. For example, spiders enjoy snacking on Box Elder Bugs, earwigs, ladybugs and other insects, which go into structures over the winter. Below is a list of five common pests that want to make your home or business their fall and winter residence.
German and American Cockroaches are the most popular species found in our area of Alabama, both are small pests, only about a half-inch in size. They are each mostly tan to black with the German Cockroach having two dark lines running from their head to the base of the wings.
These pests have a voracious appetite and will consume a wide variety of items, including, but not limited to, crumbs, food, sugary substances, meats, and even soaps and toothpaste. They are typically found indoors in kitchens or bathrooms where there is warmth and moisture.
Cockroaches of any kind can pose significant health risks. Their legs can carry bacteria, which may lead to diseases and contamination of food and food preparation areas. Additionally, contact with the pest’s feces or body parts can trigger severe allergic reactions in certain individuals.
Mice are experts at contaminating food, damaging wood and insulation, burrowing in small cracks or holes, and destroying wiring. Mice can carry diseases that are harmful to humans, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a respiratory disease that can be fatal if not treated. Humans are most likely to contract HPS by not properly cleaning up mouse droppings, urine and nests, and frequently working in an area where mice live.
Stink bugs are large, oval or shield-shaped insects. Their name comes from the odor of the chemical they produce in the glands on their abdomen. Scientists suspect this odor might be a defense against predators.
This pest tends to invade homes for warmth during the winter, which is prevalent in Alabama. These insects find their way indoors through small openings and remain concealed until spring. As the temperature rises, they emerge and can be found in common living areas near walls or windows. During spring, it is not uncommon to observe a significant influx of stink bugs, which can be bothersome for homeowners.
Box Elder Bugs
These small beetles are oval-shaped and only about half an inch long. Their black bodies have red lines along the thorax, sides and wings. Fortunately, they do not bite or cause any damage to structures, such as homes or outbuildings. But, upon entering a structure, Box Elder Bugs can leave stains on carpet and furniture with their droppings, and emit an unpleasant odor if crushed.
To prevent these pests from entering, it’s recommended to replace any damaged screens on patios and windows, inspect the foundation for cracks or holes, and check the seals around doors and windows. Trimming branches near the structure can also be helpful in reducing the likelihood of Box Elder Bugs entering the home or building.
In the fall, brown recluse and wolf spiders, along with other species, may work their way into the home or office. Spider bites can trigger severe allergies in many people, so it’s a good idea to eliminate the pest if it’s indoors. Many of these spiders feed on other bugs, so eliminating their food source, other insects that entered the home, you automatically bid farewell to these eight-legged intruders. Of course, the real victory lies in preventing them from entering your domain altogether, so you can enjoy a spider-free zone hassle-free.
If you suspect a pest problem, whether it’s these pests or others, it’s recommended to call professionals, such as the licensed pros at United Pest and Turf Control. They’re trained to investigate where the pests are entering and how to eliminate the problem.