What can I do to keep crickets from taking over the exterior of my home and office?
Crickets are attracted to buildings by bright exterior lights. Changing commercial lighting to sodium vapor lamps and home lighting to yellow “bug light bulbs” greatly reduces the number of crickets attracted. In addition, heavy ground cover, like ivy, should be minimized in landscaping, especially next to the building. Sites where crickets could harbor, such as piles of lumber and bricks, should be removed. Also, seal as many exterior cracks and holes and make sure all doors have tight-fitting weatherstrips on the bottom.
What are the small, reddish brown bugs around I see around our doors and windows?
The description sounds like clover mites that live in the grass outside and invade homes during the spring. During the fall, the adults will deposit eggs in cracks in the outside of buildings. When these eggs hatch in the spring, the tiny, red mite “larvae” crawl up the foundation and find their way inside. This problem is usually remedied by treating the exterior foundation and the ground several feet out from your house. You may want to consult a professional company, like Terminix, to apply this treatment.
I have seen ladybugs in the house, both alive and dead. What kind of damage do they do, and what should I do about them?
Ladybugs, also known as lady beetles, are more common now than they used to be, possibly because of mild winters in recent years, or organic gardeners buying and releasing them to control plant pests. In the fall, ladybugs may be attracted to buildings where they crawl into cracks and voids to live for the winter. During warm winter days, beetles may “waken” and then crawl into the living spaces of your home. Once inside the walls, the beetles are very difficult to eliminate. Caulking cracks around window and door frames and around ceiling fixtures (lights, fans) can help keep the beetles inside the walls and out of the rooms of the house. Prevention is the best course of action for the following year. Seal up as many exterior cracks and holes as possible and install tight-fitting screens on all foundation and attic vents.
I have these slow-moving bugs with multiple legs and long, thin bodies like worms. What are they, and what should I do?
These sound like they are millipedes, which are related to insects. They live in moist areas outside and feed on organic matter in mulch, lawns and leaf litter. When it gets too hot, too wet, too dry, etc., millipedes may try to enter a home, sometimes in large numbers. You will need to seal cracks and holes in your home's exterior walls. Keep mulch to a thickness of two inches or less and try to keep it 10 – 12 inches from the foundation. You may want to treat the foundation and ground around your home with a product labeled for exterior use around homes. Follow the label directions. Otherwise, you can call in a professional company, like Terminix, to do a treatment and provide recommendations.
I’ve heard that silverfish are extremely difficult to control. Is this true? If so, what should I do?
Silverfish are difficult to eliminate, not because they are resistant to treatments, but because they often hide deep within walls or attics, where treatments are difficult to apply. Apply a residual pest control dust product into all cracks and voids where activity has been seen. You may need to treat the attic beneath insulation where silverfish are found. Silverfish do not respond well to feeding on insect baits, so crack and crevice treatments are the best options. Persistence in inspecting and treating new areas of activity over several months is also helpful. Experience has shown that homes with wood shingle roofs typically have the most difficult of silverfish infestations.