Suns Out, Bugs Out! – How to Keep Spring Pests Out of Your Home
By : Rita Stadler
Why do we see such an increase in bug activity in the spring? Well for starters, the warm weather and moisture that comes with springtime is just the invitation that insects need to come out of their winter hiding spots. This time of year also happens to be mating season, which means nesting season. Aside from food and water, shelter is one of the main things that bugs are looking for when they come into your home, especially during nesting season.
There are a few common spring bugs that you’re likely to encounter during this season. We put together information on when pests like ants, stink bugs, boxelder bugs, and mosquitoes typically come out, and tips on how to make your home less attractive to them.
What Bugs Come Out in Spring?
Just as we start to move about more when the weather warms up, you’ll notice that many bugs do as well. Early spring is typically a time when homeowners will notice insects starting to appear more often around the house. This can continue throughout late summer depending on the type of bug. These are some of the common spring pests you’ll likely see out and about more once the weather turns warmer:
- Stink Bugs
- Boxelder Bugs
- Cluster Flies
We go into more detail about each of these pests below.
While there is no true ant season, ant behavior does change with the weather. In the springtime particularly when many areas get more rainfall, you may tend to find ants around the house as they seek food, shelter, and higher ground. During this time of year, it’s also common for homeowners to leave doors and windows cracked for fresh air, which makes a perfect entry point for ants.
There are different types of ants you may come across in your home, including Pharaoh, Argentine, and carpenter ants. These pests can cause major damage to your home by tunneling through moist or damaged wood.
If you find yourself facing an ant problem, there are a few steps that you can take to get it under control.
- First, you need to determine if you have outside ants that are simply coming into your home for food and water, or inside ants that have created a colony in the home.
- In either case, you want to go to the root of the problem, blocking or sealing their entry point, or getting rid of the colony.
- A botanical deterrent, like Stay Away® Ants & Cockroaches, should be used in areas where ant activity is noticed to both remove the problem and prevent it in the future.
- When in doubt, call a pest professional for their expert opinion.
The most active season for stink bugs generally runs from March to September, with a peak in the spring as they mate and reproduce, and another peak in the fall as they seek shelter indoors from the cold weather. While stink bugs don’t pose any threats to humans, they can be quite the nuisance and love nothing more than making your house into their home!
Not only are they difficult to control due to their lack of natural predators, but they also release an odor when they are crushed or threatened, making them tricky to dispose of.
The key to stink bug control is preventing them by sealing potential entry points and learning how to properly dispose of them if they do make their way into your home.
As tempting as it is, resist the urge to squish the little guys and instead opt for a vacuum cleaner, or catch and release them back outdoors. Trust us—your nose will thank you!
Many species of spiders mate in the fall season. Their eggs then hatch during the warmer months of spring or summer. If baby spiders hatch in your home, they will typically make their way out and wander away. It’s possible some may stick around and these may be the ones that you see in your home during the springtime.
This time of year offers a great time for deep cleaning, and this includes knocking down any cobwebs you see around your home. Be sure to check the corners and the ceilings! Other tips for getting rid of spiders include fixing any leaks, cleaning up any crumbs regularly, properly sealing foods, and keeping the yard surrounding your home tidy.
This common spring insect comes out during the warmer weather months and oftentimes they are found on car or home windows. They typically then make their way into your home through open windows or entry points around windows. Boxelder bugs aren’t too destructive, but their feces can stain fabrics around your house. These bugs can also leave behind a foul stench when crushed.
It’s likely you have boxelder trees close to your home if you are having issues with these pests. You’ll often see them gathering in large numbers around the area. Seal cracks and crevices to keep them from making their way into your home.
Cluster flies come out almost immediately with the warm weather and if they are inside your home, they will typically try to move outside at this time. They look very similar to the common house fly, but they’re slightly larger and move a bit more slowly.
They can usually be found in swarms in the basement, garage, or attic during the winter months. Cluster flies don’t pose the health risk of houseflies, but they could attract other bugs to the area.
Keep windows and doors closed to keep these pests out of your home. Also, consider sealing any cracks with caulk or something similar to keep them from sneaking in.
Since mosquito season is influenced by the weather, it varies across the country. Southern states with warmer climates will see mosquito season start sooner (as early as March!) and it’s likely to last longer too. This means more months of these guys crashing your outdoor barbecues!
At best, mosquitoes are just a nuisance, but at worst they pose a serious health risk. As if the little itchy bumps they leave behind aren’t bad enough, mosquitoes can transmit a variety of life-threatening diseases such as Dengue, Zika, West Nile, and Chikungunya with a single bite.
Luckily, you can safely protect yourself and your family when spending time outdoors using an EPA-registered repellent like Stay Away ® Mosquitoes to keep those ‘skeeters at bay!
Make Pest Prevention Part of Spring Cleaning
When it comes to pest control, prevention is key. Preventing the problem is much easier, not to mention cheaper, than dealing with a full-blown infestation. Here are some ways you can incorporate proactive pest control into your regular spring cleaning routine:
- Take inventory of your home and seal any cracks in the foundation and exterior walls that might provide easy access for pests.
- Replace old window screens. The recommended mesh size to keep bugs out is 18×16 mesh.
- Make your home undesirable to spring pests. Many animals and insects depend on their sense of smell for survival to find food, detect danger and attract a mate, so scent-based repellents, like Stay Away®, can help to keep them away from your home.
- Tidy up and get rid of the clutter that pests love to make into shelter.
- Clean up debris around food sources and properly store food in airtight containers—don’t forget the pet food!
- Pay special attention to standing water after rainstorms, checking and removing any water-collecting objects and puddles that may have formed.
- Install yellow bug lights, which are less attractive to flying insects like mosquitoes and stink bugs.
EarthKind’s line of Stay Away® pest deterrents are an important part of defense against spring bugs in your home. Our pouches are designed to remove problems with pests and then prevent them from returning in the future. The pouches consist of plant-based ingredients that create a smell that’s pleasant to humans, but pests do not enjoy.
If you have any questions about our solutions, contact us and we’re happy to provide additional insights into our botanical pest prevention and control methods.