As daylight hours grow longer and the weather warms up, it's not just spring flowers that are popping up everywhere.
Most household bugs in the northeast begin to hatch or re-emerge from overwintering as soon as temperatures reach the mid-50s. As these bugs mature, they start searching for food, water and shelter, and within days you may have numerous common flying bugs in or around your house. Take proactive measures now to help prevent, deter and control common flying insects in the house.
1. Cluster flies
Cluster flies are commonly found in attics and can congregate in large swarms. They make their way into your home in the fall as temperatures drop, and lie dormant inside your home's walls all winter. When warmer spring weather returns, these pests become active again as they try to make their way back outdoors.
Homeowners may notice them flying around the house and bouncing against windows as they attempt to escape. It's not uncommon to find numerous dead cluster flies on your window sills or near doors. If you want to avoid this gross nuisance and the unsightly mess they make, it's best to prevent these common flying bugs from entering your home in the first place.
Tips for preventing cluster flies from entering your home
The best preventative technique is exclusion. Remember, cluster flies likely entered your home the previous fall, meaning that the pests you're seeing today were inactive all winter long, but still present. To help keep them from returning, you need to stop them from entering your home again in the fall:
- Seal all windows, cracks in your siding and gaps around doors or plumbing with caulk.
- Cover window openings and vents with wire screening.
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible in the fall.
For the best results, do all of the above no later than August to prevent a recurrence of cluster flies the following spring.
2. Boxelder bugs
Boxelder bugs have a distinctive appearance with a dark grey body marked by bright red stripes. Similar to cluster flies, these pests often enter homes in the fall while seeking a warm place to avoid 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 typically destructive, although they emit a smelly odor and can stain curtains and fabrics.
Tips for preventing boxelder bugs from entering your home
To help prevent boxelder 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 likely hits in the late summer and fall (these bugs are attracted to warmth).
True to their name, boxelder bugs need boxelder trees. These host plants are where the insects lay eggs, feed, and develop into adults. Consider removing any boxelder trees on your property. If you want to retain these trees, make sure their branches are pruned back away from your home's walls. Finally, rake and destroy any fallen seeds from your shrubs. The boxelder bug larvae, nymphs and adults feed off of these seeds.
3. Larder beetles
The larder beetle is one of the most widespread household flying insect pests. The beetle has a round shape with a dark brown color and measures just a little over 1/4th of an inch.
The beetle feeds on other dead bugs it finds in your home. Larder beetles also eat dead animals, and it may occasionally eat furniture, clothing or rugs made from animal furs, hides or wool. Sometimes, the beetles infest stored food that contain meat products, such as dog food. Its larvae may even cause structural damage by boring into your house's wood frame and walls.
Tips for preventing larder beetles from entering your home
Remove any potential food sources to help keep from attracting larder beetles into your home. This includes:
- Storing any food items that contain meat, such as pet food, in an airtight container.
- Sealing up access points, such as gaps around piping or vents in your attic.
- Regularly cleaning items made with animal hides, leather, wool or fur.
4. Multicolored Asian lady beetles
Bearing a striking resemblance to some of North America's native ladybugs, the multicolored Asian lady beetle was imported as a natural pest control in the United States, but quickly established itself in North America and is now found across the continent. As its name suggests, it looks like your standard lady bug but has a range of colors going from yellow to red to black.
These beetles have a habit of making their 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 inside 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 are handled and they may bite.
Tips for preventing multicolored Asian lady beetles from entering your home
Multicolored Asian lady beetles become active in the late fall. They're looking for a warm, sheltered location (like your house) to move into. Because these beetles are so small, you should pay attention to very small openings in your home's exterior. Using caulk or a similar sealant, close up cracks or gaps around potential entryways for the beetles, including:
- Exterior wiring
- Fascia boards
If these bugs are a chronic problem, you'll also want to consider installing tight door sweeps on all exterior doors. You can also sweep up or vacuum any stray lady beetles you may find wandering around.
5. Brown marmorated stink bug
The brown marmorated stink bug is native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Entomologists hypothesize that it 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 fruits, like apples, peaches and figs. They are known for their characteristic brown shields-like body and the foul-smelling odor that they emit when threatened.
Similar to boxelder bugs and cluster flies, any stink bug you happen upon in your home got in the year before. Getting rid of these smelly insects requires proactive planning to help prevent them from returning next season.
Tips for preventing the brown marmorated stink bug from entering your home
Stink bugs can enter your home during the fall 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 to your home's exterior. However, experts also recommends going a step further and sealing any openings from the interior walls into your home (ceiling fixtures, electrical outlet boxes, light switches, etc.). Because stink bugs often take harbor within your home's walls, this ensures that any bugs that manage to get into your home are trapped in your walls and can't bother you in your living spaces.
You should also replace damaged screens and remove debris near entrances which can attract insects and give them a way inside.
6. Kudzu bugs
The kudzu bug is another species of stink bug which experts believe may have arrived in the United States aboard commercial airplanes. It is now most commonly found in southern states.
The kudzu bug looks similar in size to some lady bugs and is brown and green, similar to stink bugs. These pests are commonly found on plants like kudzu, wisteria and soybeans, and they may overwinter in cracks and crevices around your home. 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. While the kudzu bug doesn't cause direct damage to your home, it can produce a foul odor and stain fabrics. They may also cause skin irritation or skin blistering if you or your family touches one of them.
Tips for preventing kudzu bugs from entering your home
If you're wondering why kudzu bugs are all over your house, it may be an aesthetics issue. Consider repainting your home's exterior to a dark color, or at least removing light-colored decor and accents. Researchers have found that these pests are attracted to white and light-colored buildings.
While you're reconsidering your home's exterior, take a moment to clear away and trim back wisteria and other host plants.
Finally, ensure all access points larger than 1/8 inch are sealed. Here are some more tips to follow:
- Cover all vent openings with screens.
- Seal all windows and doors with door sweeps and weather stripping.
- Caulk any cracks or holes in your walls, eaves and other outdoor surfaces leading into your home.
Want help with popular spring insects?
Prevention and exclusion can only do so much. If you want to nix these popular spring insects, and keep flying bugs from invading your home, reach out to the pest control professionals at Terminix®. A pest control professional can help you with the following:
- Accurately identify the exact spring pest you're dealing with.
- Do a complete walk-through of your home, identifying access points you might have missed.
- Reduce and manage the true source of the pests, both indoors and outdoors.
Contact us to get started today.