As the temperature outside drops, we like to cozy up inside our nice, warm houses. Unfortunately, so do insects and rodents. While the advent of fall usually means an end to earwigs, wasps, hornets, groundhogs and bats, autumn brings with it its own invaders: rodents, box-elder bugs, and Japanese lady beetles, Michigan’s common autumn pests.
Mice are undoubtedly the biggest wintertime pest concern. Unlike other mammals, a mouse will not go into hibernation and mice colonies will remain active throughout the winter. In fact, mouse activity may even go up when the weather gets colder because mice living in fields and areas near your home will be drawn inside as they look for a warm habitat. A mouse can sneak in through a hole no bigger than a dime.
When inspecting your home for mice, Creature Control takes a two pronged approach: first, eliminating the existing rodent population using tamper-resistant rodenticide bait stations. Second, we locate the entry points where the mice are getting into your home and seal them so that mice cannot move into your home in the future. Whereas most pest control companies treat mice as a pest issue that needs ongoing maintenance and monitoring, Creature Control treats mice as a wildlife control problem – something that needs to be handled once and handled efficiently so you don’t have the problem again.
Box elders are little black beetles with red stripes on their back and come sometimes be mistaken for cockroaches. They tend to swarm and invade homes in the fall and the spring. Box elders are initially attracted to houses by the prospect of sunning themselves the warm siding of the house, especially those that get a lot of sun exposure (large southern or western exposures are preferred). Once box elders have identified certain sides of the house as ideal for sunning, they can invade he home through any number of cracks and crevices – a common point of entry is between the threshold and the weather-seal of a doorway. They may overwinter in a house, laying dormant behind walls or siding until warmer weather comes, at which point they will emerge in search of food and water.
They will eventually try to find their way outside again, but most will end up wandering around inside the home, unable to find a way out. Though box elders pose no risk to humans or plantlife in the home, their presence can be unnerving, especially since so many of them can descend upon a home at one time, giving the feeling of truly being “invaded” by box elders.
There are two ways to treat box elders: perimeter and/or surface area treatments to keep the box elders from congregating on or around your home, and interior spot treatments to deal with box elders already present inside the house. The important thing to remember is that, despite the potential presence of a large number of box elders in the home, they do not breed or nest inside the house and pose no danger to human health or property. These are the most likely entry points for pests. If you plan on ever leaving your windows or doors open, you should fit them with screens, or check the existing screens for tears. Seal any cracks around windows and door frames with inexpensive caulk or foam. Weatherstripping and door sweeps can seal the moving parts of the door, so make sure it’s in good condition.
Japanese Lady Beetles
The Japanese lady beetle is a the yellower, angrier cousin of the American lady bug. Like box elders, Japanese lady beetles also tend to invade homes during the fall. Though they do any damage to property (aside from the possibility of staining curtains/fabric with their secretions), their invasion of homes by the hundreds and their congregating on window panes ensures that they wear out their welcome rather quickly.
Japanese beetles are much more aggressive than their indigenous American counterparts and will bite if provoked or moved. Their bites are not poisonous or extremely painful, but in some cases, their bite can can an allergic reaction leading to rhinoconjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink-eye.”
Asian lady beetles are also considered an invasive species due to their displacement and destruction of native species of Coccinellidae. In many places in the United States, Asian lady beetles have displaced the native American lady bug by competing more aggressively for resources.