For most, spring means more daylight and blooming flowers. Unfortunately, it may also mean unwelcome visitors in your home. As the temperatures begin to rise, many insects come out of various overwintering situations and become more active. Because of this, you may begin to see some common pests in your house.
Help keep your home free of pests this season by knowing how to help prevent some of the most common spring insects from finding their way inside.
1. Cluster Flies
Resembling the common house fly, the larger, golden cluster fly can be a nuisance in many homes, especially in early spring and summer. They are frequently found in attics and can congregate in large swarms. Cluster flies typically enter homes through cracks in siding, under eaves or around windows as they attempt to escape the cooling temperatures. They lie dormant inside walls, and when warm weather returns, they become active in the home as they make their way outside. Homeowners may notice them flying around the house and landing on windowsills.
While cluster flies are not known to cause damage to houses, they can be annoying. The best way to help prevent them from entering your home is by sealing cracks and openings to the exterior of your home. Adding screens to windows and attic vents may also help, but be sure to follow building codes.
2. Boxelder Bugs
As their name suggests, boxelder bugs feed on boxelder trees, among other types of trees and plants. They are dark grey with distinctive red stripes. Like cluster flies, they often enter homes in the fall and winter seeking a warm place to weather the dropping temperatures. In the spring, they turn active again and can become an annoyance for homeowners.
Boxelder bugs do not really pose a threat to you or your home. They do not bite and are not destructive, although they can stain curtains and fabrics. To help prevent these bugs from entering your home, make sure any cracks or gaps on the exterior of your home are sealed, especially on the south and west sides of your house, where the sun hits in the late summer and fall.
3. Larder Beetles
Another insect that seeks places to overwinter, the larder beetle may wander into your walls for warmth. They can also enter homes in the spring as they seek food sources. The adults eat meat, pet food and even dead insects, like cluster flies and boxelder bugs.
Identifying the larder beetle’s food source is critical to helping prevent an infestation. Keep food tightly sealed, thoroughly clean up spills and do not leave food sitting out for an extended period of time, if possible.
4. Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles
Bearing a striking resemblance to some of North America’s native ladybugs, the multicolored Asian lady beetle has a habit of making its way inside your home during the fall months. As the days warm and they become more active, it’s common to see these multicolored insects flying around your house, climbing around your windows or sitting on furniture. They do not damage your home, but they are known for emitting a foul-smelling yellow liquid when they feel threatened.
Adding caulk to cracks and crevices around your home can close these pest's potential points of entry. You can also sweep up or vacuum any stray lady beetles you may find wandering around.
5. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the brown marmorated stink bug arrived in the United States in the 1990s, likely in a shipping container. Outside, these insects feed on plants like soybeans and weeds, as well as fruit like apples, peaches and figs. They are known for their characteristic brown “shields” and the foul-smelling odor that they emit when threatened.
Stink bugs can enter your home during the fall and winter through gaps in doors, cracks around windows or any other opening. They will become more active as temperatures warm. Exclusion is the best way to help prevent them from becoming a nuisance. Use caulk to seal any openings, replace damaged screens and remove debris near entrances.
6. Kudzu Bugs
First seen in Georgia in 2009, kudzu bugs are becoming a common pest across the southern United States. They are brown and similar in size to lady beetles. Often found on plants like kudzu, wisteria and soybeans, kudzu bugs may overwinter in cracks and crevices around homes. In the spring, they typically become active as they look for food and reproduce.
If kudzu bugs enter your home, you may see them on windowsills or around doorframes. They can produce a foul odor and stain fabrics. Consider trimming back plants before the fall, sealing cracks and adding screens. Any kudzu bugs found in your home can be vacuumed up for removal.
These bugs could be looking to get into your home this spring. Take the above steps to help keep them out.
To learn more about insects, you can visit the "Bug Facts" section of our blog.