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GardenSMART :: Uninvited Guests

Uninvited Guests

By Wally Holden, Terminix
Photographs by Wally Holden

The morning nip in the air is an indication that cooler weather and the holidays are rapidly approaching. The cooler weather and holidays have one thing in common, and that is the arrival of uninvited guests. Your first thought might be that I am referring to the in-laws, but what I am talking about are most commonly referred to as “occasional invaders.”

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Occasional invaders is a term that collectively refers to a number of pests that you find naturally in your lawn and garden but don’t want in your home. Some of the more common occasional invaders are ladybugs, clover mites, cluster flies, stinkbugs, box elder bugs, wasps, and periodomestic cockroaches. Like all living creatures, they will seek shelter from the cold and elements, and like some unwanted guests, they will make themselves at home in your home.

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Ladybugs are cute to photograph on a plant, but a nuisance when they invade your home like a vast army. No one wants paper wasps or cluster flies hanging out in their attic for the winter and occasionally making their way into their home around an opening at a light. Outdoor, or periodomestic, cockroaches not only find their own way in, but are brought in by you when they hide in firewood.

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You may be asking what attracts them to a home. The triangle of life for most living creatures is food, water, and shelter. Most pests are attracted to light, and we love to leave the lights on. Studies have shown by changing security lighting to sodium vapor bulbs and porch lights to yellow reduces the attractiveness of pests to the structure(s). Unwanted pests are looking for readily accessible and free food, like birdseed in the garage, or dog food. Many of these pests enter your home through loose or damaged screens around windows, foundation vents, and attic vents. Seal those entry points, and don’t forget to seal all openings around pipes, windows, doors, and soffits to prevent those uninvited invaders from entering.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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