The Invasion Of Fall Pests In Knoxville TN

The Invasion Of Fall Pests In Knoxville TN

As the temperatures cool a bit and the fall season is in full swing, it’s time to start planning and enjoying the upcoming holiday season – not a time when you want to worry about the invasion of fall pests! Four fall pests known to invade Eastern TN and surrounding areas include stink bugs, ladybugs, kudzu bugs, and boxelder bugs. Here are a few ideas for how to avoid a fall invasion of pests in your home.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs start to enter homes in the fall, but they’re a problem that starts as early as March or April. When scared or squished, stink bugs put out a terrible smell (hence their name!) Stink bugs can be identified by the stripe running from shoulders to the abdomen and their five-sided bodies.


Ladybugs are so prominent in Tennessee that they are the official state insect. The ladybug home invasion usually starts in the third week of October for Eastern TN. They come inside in search of a place to spend the winter and will often be found on the sunny sides of the home.

If you see ladybugs on the outside of your home, use a mild detergent to wash the areas and remove any material that may be attracting the ladybugs to that area of your home.

Kudzu Bugs

Often mistaken for a beetle, the kudzu bug has a beaklike piercing mouthpart, which they use to suck juices from plants. You won’t notice these bugs in the summer, but as fall arrives and the temperatures begin to drop a bit – kudzu bugs will find sun-exposed surfaces of your home to sun themselves and wait for an opportunity to get inside. When disturbed, kudzu bugs will release a foul smelling chemical, and if you have hundreds of these bugs indoors the smell can be overpowering!

Boxelder Bugs

If a boxelder bug comes into your home, chances are hundreds more will join them! Especially during the fall when they are in search of a place to wait out the winter. The boxelder tree is the primary home for these pests. Boxelder bugs can damage fruits and trees. Inside, boxelder bugs smell foul and are unpleasant due to their large populations! You can reduce their living areas outside to keep them from coming near your home in the first place. Remove landscaping debris, wood piles, loose siding, and loose tree bark from around your home to reduce areas where the boxelder bug can hide out.

Preventing the Fall Invasion

All of these pests find their way into your home via small cracks and openings. Caulking around window frames, doors, and all of the possible gaps of your home (utility pipes, outdoor faucets, etc.) can help prevent ladybugs, boxelder bugs, kudzu bugs, and stink bugs from getting inside. Also, check for broken screens and remove window air conditioners so the bugs cannot find their way in around them.

If you continue to have trouble with a fall invasion of pests, give us a call. We’ll help you eliminate your fall pests and put a plan in place to prevent them from returning.

Kudzu Bugs: A New Pest In East Tennessee

We’ve talked in previous posts about pests that have come to the United States from other countries and then created problems for our ecosystems. Pests that may be only an inconvenience in their countries of origin can be devastating when they arrive in areas that do not have the proper predator balance for them. Unfortunately, we have seen another non-native species, the kudzu bug, rise up in the Southeast in the last five years, and it’s time for Tennessee homeowner to brace for impact.

Kudzu bugs are also known as lablab bugs and globular stink bugs. They arrived in Georgia in 2009 and spread through several counties that year. Now, in 2013, they can be found in most of the states in the Southeast, including Alabama, both Carolinas, Mississippi, Virginia, northern Florida, and Tennessee.

Like the brown marmorated stink bug, kudzu bugs have straw-like mouth parts, which they use to suck liquids out of plant stems. Based on their name, you might be inclined to call them beneficial since they do, in fact, eat kudzu and significantly hinder its growth. However, their second-favorite food is soybeans, which makes up an enormous part of the U.S. farming economy. In just a few short years, they have already demonstrated their ability to cause devastating damage to crops, and they are a huge point of concern for local entomologists and pest professionals alike.

Even if you’re not a farmer, kudzu bugs are likely to be a hindrance for you. Just like stink bugs, lady bugs, and boxelder bugs, adult kudzu bugs move indoors when the weather first starts to cool off, and they overwinter in attics and wall voids. Light-colored houses are more at risk for invasion (they have a particular affinity for white), and they are most likely to enter homes after sunning themselves on south or west walls on chilly fall days. They then emerge in the spring when the weather warms up to eat, mate, and lay their eggs. Unfortunately, overwintering pests are not blessed with spectacular senses of direction, and kudzu bugs can end up inside your home instead of leaving through the crack they used as an entrance. And, you guessed, just like the other bugs listed above, they emit a smelly, staining liquid when they are agitated or smashed that can be very problematic in a home.

I write about overwintering pests every year to try to warn as many homeowners as possible because we are now in the season when you need to take action to keep these pests out of your home. Check your weather stripping, ridge vents, and the holes around your utility entrances. Make sure to keep those well-sealed so you’re not presenting easy entrance points for pests. If you do not want to have a professional pest treatment, consider getting a hose attachment that will allow you to spray your home with very soapy water. This is a short-term treatment (since both sun and rain dissipate soap very quickly), but if you do it every few days, you may deter these bugs from sunning on your siding. If you do want a professional treatment, call Russell’s Pest Control before the weather turns truly cold. We can use a backpack sprayer to treat the outside of your home to make sure that our products get into the small cracks that the kudzu bugs, stink bugs, and lady bugs are most likely to find appealing.

Contact us if you’d like more information. We’ll keep you informed as we find out more about this new type of invader.