How to Cicada-Proof Your Home

May 16th, 2011

How to Cicada-Proof Your Home

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Some Christians believe that the Rapture – the day when the worthy will spontaneously ascend to heaven – is going to happen on May 21. But for many in the South, a different kind of biblical event is already taking place: a swarm of bugs.

In this case the bugs are cicadas, not the locusts that plagued ancient Egypt, but the winged insects – which emerge from the ground every 13 years to mate – have begun hatching from Mississippi to North Carolina. The relentless swarms are expected to terrorize the South for about a month, after which they’ll finish laying their eggs and die.

The good news is that the bugs are more a nuisance than a plague; while their sheer numbers and annoying buzz makes it difficult to be outside, they will not attack humans or animals and won’t even try to fly into your house, says Jim Fredericks, director of technical services for the National Pest Management Association.

“They’re not really a household pest,” says Fredericks, who dealt with another brood of cyclical cicadas while working in Baltimore. “You could have an occasional cicada get in the house, but they don’t to tend to come into houses.”

Regardless of the bugs’ intentions, with so many swarming the area it’s inevitable that some will fly into an open window or door or crawl through cracks in your house. As such, Fredericks recommends implementing usual pest prevention methods, saying that screens should be placed on internal vents, windows and screens should be checked for holes or cracks, and any other cracks in the home that could allow the bugs in should be sealed with caulk or expanding foam. He also notes that the crack under your garage door could be an entry point, and he suggests making sure the seal between the door and the ground is intact and free of cracks.

Alas, there are no chemicals that will keep cicadas from entering your home, and short of a glass dome there’s nothing that will keep them out of your yard, either. It doesn’t much matter though, since they cause little permanent damage to trees: only young branches and saplings are at risk of serious harm.

So what should you do if some errant cicadas wind up in your house? You could certainly call an exterminator to get rid of them if it’s a serious infestation, though Frederick cautions anyone considering store-bought insecticides to purge them from the home. “If you’re choosing to use insecticide, read the label,” he says. “Make sure its labeled for use in the home.” If you start spraying bug poison that’s intended for outdoor use only, the cure could wind up being much more harmful than the cicadas.

In general, though, it will just be a case of a few lost bugs wandering around your kitchen, and getting rid of them is usually a simple matter of throwing them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them. And don’t be afraid to enlist your four-legged friends to help catch the six-legged ones – the bugs are safe (and healthy) for consumption by humans and animals alike.

“imagine that my cat would have a field day with a couple cicadas in the house,” he says. “I wouldn’t be worried if a dog or a cat get a hold of them. There’s lots of tasty recipes out there.”

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