Unwelcome house guests

As fall approaches, homes start to have some unwelcome house guests beginning to show up. Boxelder bugs, picture wing flies, ladybugs and crickets all will attempt to enter homes in the fall. They are not in the homes to cause any damage. They are seeking a place to hibernate for the winter. Any small opening or crack will serve as an invitation to them to enter and sleep. As small as they are, they can get though very small spaces, which makes keeping them out difficult. But there are some things that you can do to stop them.

Check around windows, doors and any place where an outside wall was cut to place a vent, pipe or any other item through the wall. Caulk with a good quality, exterior use caulk around them if they haven’t been sealed before. Recheck those sealed in previous years to be sure the seal is still intact and tight all around. If the openings are larger, stuff steel wool in the opening first as this will also keep mice from chewing through the caulk and getting into your home.

The insecticide Tempo is very effective at preventing insect entry if applied correctly. Tempo is one of the safest insecticides for humans, mammals and birds which makes it a choice to use. Mix according to label directions in a hand sprayer. Then, spray to wet the foundation of the house, around doors giving special attention to the threshold, around windows and around any of the places where cuts or holes have been drilled in walls and foundations. This would include where power lines, water faucets, kitchen and bathroom vents, and TV or other lines come into the house. Tempo has a long period of control and may last up to a month or more.

For those uninvited guests who DO get into your home, the best and safest control is your vacuum cleaner. It quickly contains them without exposing your family and pets to an insecticide. Even though Tempo is very safe, unless needed to control a household insect such as silver fish or roaches, vacuuming is the best way to get rid of those invaders indoors.

Ken Eraas is the Ward County Extension Horticulture Assistant. You can reach him by calling 857-6444 or emailing kendell.eraas@ndsu.edu.