It’s that time of year again – brown mottled bugs crawl through windows and walls in just about every room in every home.
Some say the invasive virus swept through Buckeye State with more force than normal this fall.
In north-central Ohio, however, it might sound like that, according to Jason Hartschuh, Ohio State University’s extension officer for Crawford County.
“This time of year it always feels like there are too many,” said Hartschuh. “When the calendar goes to October and they decide to come into the house, it feels like they’re everywhere.”
New in the United States
The invasive species first made landfall in North America following an accidental import from Asia in the late 1990s, according to StopBMSB.org, a website devoted to the management of the marbled chinch bug. United States and supported by the United States Department of Agriculture.
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The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the first sightings of the insect were in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but they have since spread to 47 states across the country, including Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
Bedbugs are identified by their shield-shaped body and are brown and gray with a lighter underbelly.
Winter house search
People tend to hate invasive bugs, but it’s okay to have them in your home.
“It’s just that when they’re run over they stink,” Hartschuh said. “They don’t bite humans or pets. They aren’t known to transmit disease. There’s no real harm. They’re just a nuisance.”
Insects venture indoors each fall looking for a place to feel at home during hibernation.
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“When it starts to cool off at night, they try to find warm places,” Hartschuh said.
Stinkbugs often crawl into eaves and other crevices of a house.
“You can look for where they’re coming in and seal it better,” Hartschuh said.
Guarding homes against bedbugs
Anyone who chooses to spray bug spray insecticides should first test the product on a small area of the house to make sure it does not damage the siding or other parts of the house.
Those who vacuum the bedbugs with their vacuum cleaner should remember to place the bag in a sealed container to prevent the bedbugs from crawling in moments later.
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The EPA suggests these tips for keeping bedbugs out of your home:
- Caulk windows inside and out.
- Cut off weathering on entry doors and / or install door brushes if daylight is visible around the perimeter of the door.
- Remove debris and edible vegetation from the foundation of your home.
- Seal foundation cracks.
- Secure entrances to the crawl space.
- When insulating exposed plumbing pipes around your home’s foundation or crawl space, caulk small spaces and fill larger ones with steel wool.
- If your home has a fireplace, cover or shield the top of the chimney to keep pests out.
- Contact a pest control professional to treat surrounding vegetation near your home’s foundation.
They leave brown spots inside apples
Small insects also leave their mark on some crops.
Farmers in the area notice that bedbugs cause at least a small amount of damage to corn and soybeans each year.
“They actually suck the juice from the seeds,” Hartschuh said.
Fruits, however, tend to be much more susceptible to bedbugs. Apple orchards are at the top of the list.
“They leave a brown stain on the inside of the apple,” Hartschuh said.
Since damage is not visible until after the apple has been peeled, orchards use a routine insecticide regimen throughout the year.
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Although apples can still be eaten after the brown spots are removed, most orchard owners prefer to keep the bugs from eating their crop in the first place.
“Customers aren’t happy when they have an apple with brown spots,” Hartschuh said. “A lot of people could see that and throw away the whole apple. You could lose a loyal customer.”