Because of our mild winter, we at Russell’s Pest Control were getting calls from homeowners in Knoxville, Maryville, Lenoir City, and other surrounding cities throughout early February for pest problems ranging from ants to mice to meal moths. One thing is for sure: This winter has (so far) proven to be milder than the record-breaking cold seasons we’ve had in the past few years. Before we gear up for the spring-time swarmers, I wanted to warn you about the critters that you may be finding in your southern windows on these sunny afternoons.
You haven’t forgotten about stink bugs or lady beetles, have you? We usually try to post about them in the late summer or early fall because that’s the time to get treatments for these overwintering pests. The term “overwintering pest” just means a bug that hibernates through the cold weather inside your warm wall voids or attic. On nice, sunny days in late winter or early spring, they start to emerge and make their way outside. Unfortunately, their sense of direction is not so impressive just after they wake up. All of the ladybugs and stinks bugs that you find inside your house are just lost. They were trying to get back to the open air, and they took a wrong turn through a crack under your baseboard or through one of your light fixtures.
There is just nothing pleasant about sharing space with these bugs, particularly if you have them in large numbers. Both species give off a very unpleasant odor when you squish them, and ladybugs pack a surprisingly sharp (though harmless) bite for bugs of their size. If you’ve got them in your house now, there’s nothing you can do but buckle down and ride out the insect exodus. Do not spray an over-the-counter pesticide inside your wall voids to try to kill them there. That will only draw predator bugs in large numbers to feed on the ones you kill.
Use your vacuum with a hose attachment to suck up groups of stink bugs or ladybugs that you find inside. Be sure to either empty the canister in an outside trashcan or remove the bag and put it outside. The bugs don’t die when they are vacuumed up and will just walk back out into the house if you leave the bag inside.
Although we at Russell’s Pest Control will not do a wall void treatment to kill the stinkbugs and ladybugs that are already in the house, we would be glad to help you handle any predator pests like spiders, centipedes, or rodents that may show up to hunt the overwintering pests. We can give you safe coverage during the high-pressure pest months that are coming this spring and summer and then do a thorough treatment this fall to work on keeping out next year’s stink bugs and ladybugs. In other words, we can protect your home from pests year round so you don’t have to worry about it. Give us a call, or visit our contact page, if that sounds like the sort of help you need.