As the temperature drops, many insects will seek shelter for the winter months, often in private residences. This year, people might notice a new insect coming inside.
This insect is the brown mottled bug, and entomologists at the University of Kentucky are already getting calls from homeowners about its foul-smelling appearance and odor, said Ric Bessin, extension entomologist at the UK College of Agriculture.
The first report of the stink bug in Kentucky was in 2010, but it is now confirmed in 50 counties, mainly in eastern and central state and in the Louisville area. Hardin County was added to the list this year.
Once in homes, the bug gives off an odor that smacks of cilantro as a defensive mechanism. Along the east coast, where this bug is more established, it is known to invade homes by the tens of thousands.
In addition to being a home invader, the bedbug is a major pest of fruits and vegetables and feeds on corn and soybeans during the growing season.
The best thing homeowners can do to prevent stink bug problems is to protect their homes from pests, Bessin said. This includes sealing openings in the structure, such as the entry of wires and pipes into the building from the outside, as well as cracks or tears in window or door screens.
Homeowners may also want to spray insecticide around the perimeter of their home. For more information, see UK Entomology ENTFACT 641, available at ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/entfactpdf/ef641.pdf.
If bedbugs are found in a residence, homeowners should vacuum them rather than sweeping or crushing them. Sweeping or crushing may cause them to emit the odor or leave a stain.
Protecting your home from pests is the most effective way to keep these critters out. A swatter, broom or vacuum and a garbage can will take care of the pests that occasionally roam inside. It is best to deal with bedbugs, bedbugs and ladybugs outdoors before they enter.
Following these guidelines will help protect your home or workplace from pests, and some can even help you save energy and increase comfort levels this fall and winter.
Install railings or door sills at the base of all exterior entry doors, paying special attention to the lower corners which are a common entry location. Insects and spiders can enter through a space of one sixteenth of an inch or less. Go down to the floor and check if the light enters under the doors; this indicates possible interference entries.
To close other potential pest entryways, apply caulk to the bottom exterior edges and sides of door sills; install garage doors with a rubber bottom seal as vinyl does not seal well in winter; and line the bottom track of sliding glass doors with ½ to ¾ inch wide foam weatherstripping to seal any gaps.
Utility openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding are common entry points for spiders, ants, yellow jackets, and rodents. You can use caulk, cement, expandable urethane foam, steel wool and copper mesh to plug openings around exterior faucets, outlets, gas meters, dryer vents. and telephone or cable television wires.
Apply a good quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk to cracks around windows, doors, dashboards and other openings. Before applying caulk, clean the existing caulk and remove any chipping to promote adhesion.
Make sure you use a good caulking gun. Desirable features are a recoil trigger to stop caulking when desired, a built-in “slicer” for removing the tip of new caulk tubes, and a nail for drilling the seal inside. These guns are available for less than $ 10.
To reduce the entry of ladybugs, cluster flies and other overwintering pests, repair gaps and tears in window and door screens. Keep windows closed when adults emerge to prevent entry. Repairing the screens will also prevent flies, midges, mosquitoes and midges from entering next summer.
Another way to prevent the entry of pests is to apply an exterior barrier treatment with insecticides. To get the most out of this effort, apply long-lasting liquid formulations that contain synthetic pyrethroids. These products are available at some hardware, lawn and garden stores.
If you are applying the barrier treatment, use a compressed air or hose sprayer to treat the base of all exterior doors, garages, crawl space entrances, foundation vents, utility openings and under siding. It is also helpful to treat the outside perimeter of the foundation with a strip two to six feet wide along the ground and two to three feet along the foundation wall.
If you’d rather not tackle these pest control activities, contact a professional pest control company. Many companies offer pest control services.
For more information on the brown marbled bug, go to pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/BMSB/welcome.html or contact Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-765-4121, [email protected] or at hardin .ca.uky.edu.
Amy Aldenderfer is a Hardin County Horticultural Extension Officer. She can be reached at 270-765-4121, Ext. 114, [email protected]