Category Archives: Insects

Stink bugs invade homes

Homeowners across the country have been fighting off an extremely unwelcome pest – the stink bug. The insect gets its name due to an offensive odor they emit when crushed or frightened. This makes dealing with an infestation extremely difficult and unpleasant for residents.

Stink bugs aren't just bothering homeowners in one part of the country – USA Today reported the pests have been spotted in 38 states so far. The area hit the hardest is the Mid-Atlantic region – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have experienced the most problems. The source reported that 59 percent of D.C. residents have already experienced an issue with the bugs this year.

The invasive insect has been spreading quickly, and the hot weather this summer didn't do homeowners any favors. USA Today referenced  U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist Tracy Leskey who said the long, hot summer increased stink bug populations by allowing two separate generations to breed.

These pests are causing concern among the agricultural community. Homeowners with gardens, organic farmers and commercial growers have all seen stink bugs destroy their crops, and the insects aren't picky eaters – they'll snack on virtually any crop they can find. Even more frustrating for some is when they get indoors and begin to cause problems in a home. 

Heading indoors
Even though the pests aren't dangerous and don't spread disease, they're still frustrating to deal with. The strong scent they give off can be unbearable, especially if there's a large infestation in a residence. Unfortunately, the bugs are invading homes at a rapid pace. To escape the increasingly chilly weather, they're seeking shelter in houses across the country, where they hibernate and then emerge in the spring.

An infestation can be hard to get rid of, especially once the insects start hiding in walls and attics to hibernate. A few preventative measures can help homeowners keep the bugs at bay. Sealing all cracks around a home can prevent the pests from sneaking in, but they can slip through tiny crevices near doors and windows, which homeowners can easily miss when sealing up their homes.

For homeowners dealing with smaller numbers of the bugs, pest control professionals advise not crushing the pests, but instead vacuuming them and immediately getting rid of the bag. Those dealing with more severe infestations should contact professional exterminators to handle the situation to help ensure the infestation doesn't continue to spread.

Box elder bug invasion worse than expected

Many communities are accustomed to an annual invasion of box elder bugs, but the number of pests showing up this year has been extreme in many areas. Residents and pest control professionals are saying they haven't seen such large populations of the insects in years, and the unusual weather that has been hitting much of the country may be to blame.

The worst invasion in decades
Even though box elder bugs don't carry disease, they're a huge nuisance to homeowners, especially when the pests' numbers are so extreme.

"Speaking with other technicians, it's about the worst they've seen in 20 to 25 years," local pest control expert Adam Peterson told Waterloo, Iowa, area ABC affiliate KWWL.

The source also reported some homes in the area were completely covered in the insects, and it was impossible to tell what color the houses were under the thick layer of black bugs.

Experts speculate that the bizarre weather that has swept the nation is likely the cause of the huge box elder bug population this summer and autumn. Last winter was mild enough for many of the pests to survive, and the hot dry summer created ideal conditions for the bugs to thrive.

Many homeowners are hoping the first hard frost will come soon and kill off the bugs that are swarming their homes. But while some wait for nature to handle the invasion, others are taking matters into their own hands.

Controlling box elder bugs
While the first hard frost will effectively eliminate many of these insects, some homeowners are so bothered by the pests they're taking care of the problem early on and calling insect control experts. Exterminators in many regions are seeing an increase in the number of calls regarding box elder bugs as they continue to take over homes.

And the pests aren't just clinging to windows and siding outdoors. Because of the massive populations, the bugs are sneaking into homes, prompting homeowners to call for even more pest control services. They can sneak into small cracks, ripped screens or even gain access to a home by clinging to a resident's clothing.

Even though the pests may be annoying, they're not dangerous and they won't cause damage to property or spread disease. But despite their harmless nature, many homeowners are irritated by the insects taking over their homes. Those experiencing a severe box elder bug problem may want to consult local pest control experts to assess the situation and perform any necessary services.

Food manufacturers dealing with fall pests

Pest control is a major issue among homeowners across the country, but business owners also have to take protective measures when it comes to preventing bugs, insects and other pest infestations.

In the food manufacturing industry, safety is paramount and keeping unwanted pests at bay is a priority for every food manufacturer. With the summer heat fading into an autumn chill, food plant managers are taking proactive steps to keep their products safe.

"Depending on geographical location, winter can provide some relief from exterior pest pressures. However, certain parts of the U.S. will see year-round pressures from outdoor insects," Patricia Hottel, technical director at a pest management company, told FoodProcessing.com. "There are definitely some seasonal pest differences in the temperate climates. There are several types of fall invading pests to expect as summer comes to a close. Several of these pests invade structures in search of a place to overwinter."

Many pests are influenced by the temperature and other aspects of the seasons, with some more prevalent in the fall and harvest season. The news source states that these pests include rodents, boxelder bugs, foreign grain beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, multicolored Asian lady beetles and more.

"Each season brings different opportunities for pests to find food, water and shelter within or around food processing, packaging or handling facilities," Dale Bauerkemper, vice president of operating companies at a pest control company in Wisconsin, told the news source. "Although chemical applications can offer some immediate relief, environmental control methods that drop the relative humidity levels, removing the water pests need to survive, are required for real long-term resolution."

What to do as a business owner
As a home and/or business owner, you should take whatever steps are necessary to rid any potential pest issues. Contacting pest control professionals can be the easiest and most effective way to eliminate your bug or insect issue.

Although there are personal pest control measures that can be undertaken to remedy the situation, these are not always effective and some may not be safe. Working with a trained professionals may solve pest problems more quickly and offer much-needed peace of mind.

Don’t let boxelder bugs ruin your autumn

As the cool fall weather approaches, so does boxelder bug season. These pests can infiltrate homes and cause problems throughout the fall and winter. When the pests enter a residence, their numbers can expand, causing a headache for homeowners. Even though these common pests aren't dangerous, they can become a nuisance and be difficult to eradicate.

Identifying boxelder bugs
Residents often notice boxelder bugs when the pests swarm to trees, structures and gardens lit by the sun. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, the bugs may be an even bigger problem, since they often feed on the tree's seed pods. The adult pests are dark brown with red stripes and abdomens and are about half an inch long. When crushed, they can release an unpleasant odor.

Keep pests out of the home
Even though these pests are often found outdoors, they begin to migrate inside structures once the weather begins to cool. They can find their way into your house through open doors or windows, ripped screens, small cracks or even around your home's foundation. Because they can be tricky to get rid of after they have established themselves in a residence, it is important to take preventative pest control measures to keep the insects from entering in the first place. Ensure doors and windows shut tightly, repair ripped screens and seal cracks a boxelder bug could sneak through.

Managing the infestation
If there are boxelder bugs all over your home, there's no reason to panic. The pests aren't dangerous, but they can annoy residents. Be aware that even though it is possible to treat the problem, it may be a frustrating situation. If you have a boxelder tree in your yard, removing the tree may be the most effective way to eliminate the pests permanently, but this option can be undesirable or impractical.

Homeowners should be cautious when deciding if they should attempt to eliminate the pests themselves or contact insect control experts. Some home treatments may effectively eliminate the pests, but lead to a carpet beetle problem, as these insects will eat the boxelder bugs and possibly procreate, leading to a new infestation.

Upon detection of a boxelder bug invasion, vacuum your home to get rid of any dead or live insects that may be lurking around. If more than a few pests are discovered, calling an exterminator is often the best way to handle this type of infestation.

Insects destroy crops in Ontario

A rare insect infestation in Ontario is causing farmers to implement pest control.

Potato leafhoppers are not typically found in the Ontario area, the Ottawa Sun reports. This year, a massive amount of the bugs is destroying alfalfa crops.

The pests eat alfalfa juice, but also inject their poisonous saliva into the crop, which prevents the plant's sap from flowing.

The source reports that alfalfa is typically a fairly drought-resistant crop, making it a good crop to be growing this year until the potato leafhoppers showed up.

The damage to the plants is initially difficult to detect, farmers do not often realize there is a problem. This allows the pest population to grow, because farmers are not taking pest control measures against them.

A local crop specialist told the Ottawa Sun that he estimates up to 30 percent of the area's alfalfa crop may be destroyed by the pests this year.

Because farmers tend to harvest alfalfa crops several times in a season, they have been advised to cut their alfalfa down to get rid of damaged plants and prevent the leafhoppers from hiding anywhere in the field. Pesticide is also required to completely rid a field of an infestation, the source reports.

Bug bites more than an annoyance

Warm weather means plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. It also means more insects, many of which can bite or sting. The pests can make outdoor activities annoying, or even dangerous for some people.

Mosquitoes are known as an annoying biting bug, and their saliva is what makes the inflamed bites itch, according to the Oklahoman. Though the bites are annoying, they have the potential to be dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control reports that mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis virus, both of which have the potential to be deadly.

Many people fear the pain of bee stings, but others fear a severe allergic reaction that can occur as a result of them. Bees inject venom into the skin through their stingers, and this venom can affect some people more than others. More dangerous is when bees sting and release pheromones, signaling more bees to attack, physician and researcher Stephen Prescott told the Oklahoman.

Common sense pest control measures can be implemented to keep bugs from ruining summer fun. Wearing insect repellent is a safe way to keep away pesky mosquitoes. Avoiding bees and keeping a safe distance from any beehives will limit any potential bee stings. Any beehives built close to a home should be professionally removed by an exterminator.