Leaves are falling, temps are cooler, and pumpkin spice everything is on the shelves. Yep, it’s fall! It signals the beginning of winter and, you think, the end of bug season. That would be nice, but there are a few that hang around which could stifle your cool autumn buzz.
One is the Asian Lady Beetle, hailing from Asia. Initially introduced during the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to establish the Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) to control agricultural pests, especially those feasting on pecans and apples. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland.
However, this species is so voracious it has rivaled and even eaten several native ladybug species into scarcity. While they don’t carry disease, they are deemed beneficial when they outdoors and feeding on plant pests. But when the weather turns cold, these pests will seek refuge indoors. Overwintering lady beetles in a wall space will become active in their search for an exit and food in the spring. That’s when they become problematic by entering living areas. They may emit a noxious odor and yellowish staining fluid. As with other pests, the best way to keep them out of your home is by ensuring cracks and gaps around windows and doors are sealed. Doing this by the end of September to early October when these insects begin to enter the home will help limit access.
Another unwanted seasonal intruder, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) (Halyomorpha haly), has been found in 46 states, especially Tennessee and Georgia. It has the characteristic “shield” shape common to all stink bugs and is mostly a crop pest that feeds on fruits, vegetables, corn and soybean in the spring-summer growing season. Once fall hits, though, these pesky household intruders seek shelter in homes, barns and sheds as they try to find overwintering sites. Male BMSB release a pheromone that attracts others to the location. Large numbers of BMSB will aggregate together in homes and when disturbed will live up to its name by releasing a foul odor similar to cilantro as a defense mechanism. The best way to keep them from coming inside is by sealing cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys, underneath the wood fascia and other openings.
If you are experiencing pest issues inside or outside your home, seek professional pest control help.