2009-10-29 / Local & State

Tips To Keep ‘Nuisance Pests’ From Entering Homes During Fall Months

With fall weather bringing unwanted, but harmless, insects into homes across the state, acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding last week offered homeowners some suggestions on how to keep out the unwanted pests.

“These ‘home invaders’ may be a nuisance in the fall, but they don’t pose any harm to humans or to property,” said Redding. “They simply enter homes this time of year looking for a warm place to escape the cold winter months.”

Redding said the most common pests include the brown marmorated stink bug, multicolored Asian lady beetle and the boxelder bug.

Redding recommends homeowners seal any cracks along windows, doors or other openings to keep out pests. If bugs have already come into the home, find the entry location and seal it to prevent further access. Vacuum any other living or dead insects and dispose of them.

The brown marmorated stink bug was first identified in Lehigh County about 10 years ago. It is less than an inch long and shaped like a brown shield. When disturbed, it can produce an unpleasant odor.

A known stone fruit pest, the stink bug also may be found on ornamental plants, weeds and soybeans. As of now, it is not an agricultural pest in Pennsylvania and there are no effective trapping or large-scale control methods.

The multicolored Asian lady beetle, part of a group of insects commonly called “lady bugs,” is smaller than a quarter-inch long, oval shaped, yellow or red in color, and can have zero to 19 black spots. It is a tree-dwelling beetle and an important predator of aphids and scale insects. Beginning in early October, it begins congregating outside houses, sheds and other buildings in search of places to wait out the winter.

The boxelder bug is often found near homes or buildings with plantings of boxelder, a species of maple tree. About half an inch long, the adults are brownish-black with reddish-orange stripes on their backs and reddish-orange abdomens. Large numbers of the bugs gather on the south side of trees, buildings and rocks that are exposed to the sun.

Insecticides are only a temporary solution, not a long-term method of control, as the effectiveness of these products diminishes over time and do not prevent insects from entering the home permanently.

For more information on these species, please contact a local Penn State Cooperative Extension Office, or visit Penn State’s entomology Web site at http://ento.psu.edu/extension/fac tsheets.

Information on other invasive species is also available from the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council at www.invasivespeciescouncil.com or by calling council coordinator Ashley Walter at 717-525-5800.

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