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Pests that Come Indoors As the Weather Cools

As the weather cools in Lake Norman, NC, homeowners begin to spend less time on the lawn and longer periods indoors, often snuggling up under a blanket or by the fire to ward off the cold. This overpowering urge to stay warm is so natural that even the peskiest insects exhibit the same instinct, moving in droves to find a comfortable source of heat. Your home can easily become the prime target for these heat-thirsty pests, as the warm, cozy environment provides a perfect setting for overwintering insects seeking shelter from the cold.
 
The type of insects seeking refuge in your home will be largely dependent on the type of dwelling you have, the temperatures we see in Lake Norman, NC this fall and winter, and the number of unsealed entry sites on the exterior of your home. However, the most common shelter-seeking pests include Asian lady beetles, box elder bugs, and stink bugs.
 
Asian lady beetles are strikingly similar to ladybugs in appearance. They are about a quarter inch long, yellowish-orange in color, and have a number of black spots. They typically gather in hordes on the outside of light-colored houses, particularly those with vinyl siding. They will enter the home through any small holes available, shocking homeowners with their sudden mass appearance. While Asian lady beetles can be a nuisance, they don’t cause damage to housing materials and are generally quite harmless. If squished or startled, however, they can secrete a foul-smelling yellow substance that is difficult to remove from walls and other surfaces within the home.

Lady Bug Cluster

Box elder bugs are winged creatures that are black in color with red lines along their sides. They seek warmth during Lake Norman, NC winters and enter local houses in colonies of hundreds, often residing inside walls or down in basements, but occasionally emerging in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Although these pests do not cause structural damage to the home, their droppings leave stains on walls, furniture, curtains, and other linens.

Box Elder Bugs Indoors

Stink bugs are large (0.5-0.75 inches in length), brown, shield-shaped critters with piercing mouthparts and straight antennae. Like Asian lady beetles, stink bugs will often congregate on the exterior of suburban homes, eventually traveling indoors through structural cracks and holes. They tend to prefer warm, quiet places like attics and crawl spaces, and may become active in common living spaces on sunny days. In the springtime, they will come out of hiding as they search for a way outside. When threatened, stink bugs emit an unpleasant odor from an abdominal gland.

Stink Bug on Tree

Prevention & Control of Overwintering Pests
  • Seal holes, cracks, and other potential entry sites with caulking
  • Repair any damaged window or door screens
  • Weather strip exterior doors
  • Patch holes leading to the attic
  • Avoid squishing or swatting at insects already inside of the home
  • If you notice pests gathering on the exterior of your home, contact a pest management professional
  • Vacuum up insects and empty the vacuum bag outdoors after use
 
Although these pests are unsightly invaders, do not stress – they are simply looking for a warm place to overwinter and will not cause damage to the structure of your home. Once spring arrives, these critters will be on the lookout for the quickest route outside.
 
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