After the record-breaking heat of summer, we’re spending as much time outside this fall as possible. But as we’re headed out, bugs like silverfish, spiders, earwigs, flies and ants are headed in to scout out places to hide this winter.
If you think that stinks, you don’t know the half of it: brown marmorated stinkbugs came on the scene in the late '90s in Pennsylvania but are now smelling up everything inside and out in 38 states.
“In September and October, when plants are harvested and food sources dry up, stinkbugs switch gears and seek shelter indoors,” says Dr. Quig-He Zhang, Ph.D., director of research at Sterling International, makers of Rescue! insect traps. “It’s important to break the life cycle now so they don’t survive over winter months and attack your garden in spring.”
Stinkbugs hide in baseboards, exhaust fans, drapes and other warm, dark places. If you spot one, remove it with a towel or tissue and flush them immediately. Don’t suck them up with a vacuum: they’ll live up to their name by emitting a foul odor.
Here are a few ways to keep bugs at bay:
- Clean up brush and keep mulch and firewood piles away from the house.
- Seal up cracks and crevices with caulk, repair screens and don’t forget to check basement foundations for crumbling mortar.
- Clean up cupboard shelves and seal up sugary foods that attract insects.
- Create a barrier in doorways and around windowsills with crushed bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves to repel ants. Briscoe White, an herb expert and owner of The Growers Exchange, says they repel ants indoors and out. Have moth issues? Try peppermint and spearmint.