It is September, which means all the outdoor insects will start coming inside or bothering us more when we enjoy the cooler weather in the evening. Fall invading insects are just another thing to deal with, but they can be managed.
Fall Invading Insects
In fall, we see many different insects moving inside to escape impending cold weather. Many insects come inside including crickets, stink bugs, boxelder bugs, Asian multicolored ladybeetles, and ground beetles. All are harmless, really just a nuisance. The best controls include sealing cracks in the house, using home barrier sprays around the foundation and windows and doors, using sticky traps throughout the house, and using a vacuum when you find them in your home.
Spiders are also problematic in the fall, especially wolf spiders. These are one of the largest species of spiders that we will find in Nebraska. They are quite hairy and often will have 2 white or lighter brown colored stripes down the back of the spider. There are some wolf spiders that can be the size of a half dollar or more, legs and all. These spiders are not venomous, but they can bite. Most often, wolf spiders don’t bite us, but if they do the reaction is minor.
Most people are concerned with brown recluse spiders. They are about the size of a quarter, legs and all and are brown with a darker brown fiddle shape on their back. They can cause a bad reaction in some people, but not all people are as sensitive to the bites as others. If you have brown recluse spiders in your home or office, just take the time to look around things that have been stored before you move them. These spiders are reclusive so they want to stay away from you.
Spiders are beneficial predators but are not desired in a home. Controlling spiders indoors include using a home barrier spray around the foundation and windows and doors, using sticky traps, and discarding or relocating any you find in your home.
Minute pirate bugs
Minute pirate bugs are the tiny, black insects that bite us during the fall months, and the bite is quite painful for such a tiny insect. These bugs are black with white and black wings that grow to 1/8 inch in length. The appearance is very similar to a chinch bug. The wings have an “X” on them which is typical for insects that are true bugs.
Minute pirate bugs are present throughout the summer but they are out in fields, woodlands, and gardens. During the summer they feed on other insects. In fall, they move into areas where people are and bite us. Some people may react differently and swell up from the bite, but most people just have the initial pain with the bite. Minute Pirate bugs do NOT feed on blood, inject venom, or transmit diseases. Control is not practical for them as they will die with our first frost and they don’t come inside our homes. Insect repellents do not deter them because they are not attracted to us by carbon dioxide, so it is best just to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to reduce areas for them to bite us.
And don’t forget ticks, mosquitos, and chiggers are still out and about. Be sure to wear insect repellents containing DEET when you are outside and check yourself and your family for ticks when you come inside after an outdoor activity.
If you have any further questions please contact Nicole Stoner at (402) 223-1384, firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Gage County Extension website at www.gage.unl.edu, or like my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NicoleStonerHorticulture and follow me on twitter @Nikki_Stoner