News > Fall pests (and how to keep them out of your home)
Fall pests (and how to keep them out of your home)
September 9, 2020
Fall is a cozy time of year.
Pests are looking forward to snuggling up!
Whether you wait all year for Pumpkin Spice lattes, plan weekends around leaf peeping, or are secretly kind of glad that bikini season is over, autumn is a beautiful season, especially in southern Ontario where the deciduous trees make fall particularly beautiful.
Unfortunately, autumn also brings unique pest control challenges, as insects and animals get themselves ready for winter. Here, we review some of the most troublesome pests – and what you can do about them.
Flies in the house are bad at any time of year, but there’s something particularly irritating about having to swat at flies in the house all winter long.
Cluster flies are smaller, darker and slower than common house flies, and take their name from their pattern of clustering together through the winter. They’re attracted to heat sources, so it’s not unusual for them to get into your home as they weather outside becomes cooler, and then just hang out in a warm basement, closet or attic.
How do you deal with them? The first step is ensuring that they don’t take up residence in your house in the first place. That means keeping doors closed, ensuring screens are in good shape, and sealing up any cracks or gaps in foundations or at the roofline. If you do find yourself constantly plagued by flies through the winter, it may be time to call a professional to help find and destroy the main cluster.
Asian lady beetles
Ladybugs seem super cute until you wake up one morning to discover that tens or hundreds of them are crawling all over your room. Like cluster flies, Asian lady beetles like to overwinter in small spaces in warm homes.
How do you deal with them? Seal up any cracks you can find in your exterior, including little holes like between the siding and the foundation. If you’ve had an Asian lady beetle in the past, you should probably consider an exterior barrier treatment every fall, either a DIY solution from your hardware store or from a professional who can also help identify any ingress points.
The wasps that are currently eating all the rotting fruit under the trees in your neighbourhood, or swarming around you every time you eat something outside right now, are carbo-loading before they generally die at the first frost. So while they are driving you nuts right now, it’s okay to wait until the first frost. The majority of a colony will die off and you can more safely remove any nests before next year.
As we’ve discussed before, there aren’t really more mice and rats this year. We’re just seeing them more because they’ve gone through some behavioural shifts. However, it’s those very shifts that make it more important than ever to ensure that rodents don’t decide that your home would make a great Airbnb this winter. Remember: Rats can enter your home through a hole the size of a penny, and mice can squirm through a hole less than the size of a dime.
How do you deal with them? As with most pests, your first step is to ensure that there are no holes in the exterior of your home. Walk around, look at everything, and seal up anything that looks like an entrance, including holes around cables or spaces between brick and siding, or at window ledges.
You’ll also want to remove debris from around your foundation: That pile of wooden tomato spikes leaning against the back wall, the compost or refuse bins pushed up against the side of the house, even just a corner where dead leaves tend to get caught can be attractive to rodents and be hiding an entrance to your home.
Give your kitchen (and your cellar or downstairs store room, if they contain food) a thorough clean. Seal up any holes (like gaps between cupboards and pipes, or a cracked corner in your cellar), and then make sure all food is in sealed containers. The less your home seems like a buffet, the more likely it is that rodents will seek greener pastures.
If you do continue to find a lot of rodent poop around the house as we move into winter, you should call a professional for help. Mouse and rat feces can be allergenic and can be toxic to young children and elderly adults, so it’s best to get them out of the house before they settle in for the winter.
We can help.
If you have questions about whether your pest problem is small enough to be handled on a DIY basis, or whether you need a professional, don’t hesitate to call or email. We’re always happy to help!