It’s not only people that want to head indoors for the cold, winter months. Have you noticed any multicolored lady beetles or box elder bugs roaming around inside? These infamous indoor pests luckily cause no human harm, but they can be annoying.
Box elder bugs spent the warm months closely associated with box elder trees, as these particular species are required to complete the box elder bug life cycle. Once the weather cools, these bugs are attracted to warm, sunny places and can often be found congregating in large masses. In search for a warm overwintering spot, they may find a way into your home through small gaps around windows, doors, and pipes, or through cracks in your foundation and siding.
Multicolored asian lady beetles are voracious aphid eaters during the warm months, and are often a welcome addition to the biological control brigade. But, our appreciation quickly turns come autumn, when these beetles find a way into homes for the winter. What makes these beetles different than box elder bugs is their capacity to stain when crushed or killed with insecticides. Turns out, they bleed through the legs when stressed, leaving an orange stain on your surface.
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is the least favorite of the indoor dwelling bugs, as they cause considerable damage to plants during the growing season and can emit an unpleasant smell when congregating en masse. This pest is new to Wisconsin, with only a few reports in Rock County last year. Back east, this bug is known to have a wide variety of hosts with few good control options. Let’s hope it doesn’t make a stay here!
Lastly, a Western Conifer Seed Bug was brought into the office this week. These beetles feed on the seeds and developing pine cones without causing much of a problem. They aren’t found in large quantities compared to the other pests, but do have a distinctive look to them.
With any pests invading your home, the first step you can take is to prevent the pests from coming indoors. Make sure all doors are tight fighting, and use caulk or weather stripping to seal any gaps. Make sure windows are properly sealed, and apply caulk where necessary. Seal utility opens where pipes and wires enter the foundations, and properly seal siding around outdoor faucets, gas meters, clothes dryer vents, and telephone/cable TV wires. These are common entry points for pests looking for winter homes.
Once indoors, pests can be vacuumed or swept up and removed manually.