Midwest Braces for Boxelder Bugs, Asian Lady Beetles, Rodents

After a warm, dry summer some experts are saying that bloated pest populations could become a big problem for homeowners.

2012 could be as banner year for autumn insect infestations, some experts say. 

By now, Minnesotans know the drill: It's the time of year when you look out your window for a glance at those beautiful fall leaves—and your view might be obstructed by some creepy-crawlies. However, University of Wisconsin-Madison Entomologist Phil Pellitteri has told news outlets that, thanks to a dry summer, Boxelders in particular may be especially prolific.

The explosion of insects could result in an unusually intense onslaught for homeowners as the bugs make a beeline for your home.

“When the weather cools, our warm homes are just as enticing to pests as they are to us,” wrote Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. “Yet, pests are unwelcome houseguests as they can pose serious health and property threats. In preparation for winter, homeowners should be proactive and vigilant in preventing pests from coming indoors.”

Boxelder bugs don't bite but can cause a nuisance—such as the stains their excrement can leave on surfaces.

  • The University of Minnesota offers tips on dealing with boxelder bugs gathering in or outside your home.
  • Boxelderbugs.net also provides tips on the best pesticides and natural solutions for bug control.

The multicolored Asian lady beetle has similar habits, according to entomologist Hahn. In its native East Asia, the ladybug-lookalike winters along cliffs and outcroppings of rocks. But since it was first spotted in Minnesota in 1994, the Asian lady beetle—which is beneficial to pest-control in agriculture—has sought out winter homes inside our homes.

  • The University of Minnesota gives advice on beetle-control, including a diagram for catching bugs with a vacuum and nylons; vacuumed-up Asian lady beetles are not necessarily killed.
  • The USDA provides more tips, and also links to a diagram for constructing a beetle trap.

Autumn is also the time of year that rodents tend to make an appearance inside homes. Like bugs, mice are seeking out a warm place to live for the winter. But unlike bugs, rodents pose a threat to humans in that they can spread diseases and cause damage to homes.


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