Trick or Treat: Watch out for these common pests this fall
Article by Joseph Salvatore Knipper
Is there anything cozier than being home in Autumn? Jack-o-lanterns in the window, big downy quilts, the scent of pumpkin spice….ah so comfortable.
Unfortunately, the Tri State’s various pests love a cozy home as much as you do.
As the weather gets cooler this fall, indoor pest activity is bound to increase. This is part of many pests’ natural “overwintering” cycle- that is, the way plants and animals survive the colder weather.
To put it simply, climate-controlled human shelters are too good of a survival opportunity for Mother Nature to pass up. Below are some common fall pests you might catch in your apartment this season.
1. Bed Bugs
One should always be vigilant against bed bugs, but the good news is these minuscule vampires are not particularly affected by the autumn weather. However, with schools partially reopened, New Yorkers may see an uptick in infestations if they hitch a ride to and from kids’ homes.
Also, with summer being peak bed bug season, these summer infestations are ripe to spill over into your home; make sure you take proper precautions with all luggage and clothing brought home from summer trips.
Like bed bugs, cockroaches are always happy to be in your apartment all year round. However, you might notice more sightings of the American Cockroaches (sometimes called a waterbug).
Like us, their ideal temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making your kitchen cabinets an appealing fall environment.
This week is Rodent Awareness Week, and it’s no coincidence that it’s in the fall. New York City’s rodents become highly visible indoors during this time of year. Rats and mice don’t want to be out in the cold any more than you do, and they go house hunting early.
Stuff any potential mouse holes with coarse steel wool, and make sure you have a door sweep installed on your door. Keep all food in the kitchen sealed, and watch the corners of cupboards and cabinets for rodent droppings or nesting materials (shredded paper or plant matter).
4. House Centipedes
Despite their name, house centipedes tend to live outdoors in spring and summer. A drier fall season drives these creepy but harmless predators towards the humidity of your bathroom or basement.
Spiders tend to hatch in spring, which means by fall they are looking for a safe and warm place to breed.
Although many are harmless, some spiders have bites which humans react poorly to. The Yellow Sac Spider can cause necrosis, for instance, and the Wolf Spider’s bite can be quite painful.
Yes, pigeons. Pigeons begin their nesting seasons in autumn, which means they’re looking for shaded and protective overhangs.
As a result, they can become a pest in certain buildings, blocking up gutters and taking precise aim at the heads of residents. Pigeons can also carry disease, ticks, fleas.
7. Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles
The invasive Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle tends to overwinter indoors in large numbers, to the point that they are sometimes referred to as “Halloween Beetles”. With their natural defense of releasing a smelly, yellow liquid when startled, ladybugs can stain furniture. They also can exacerbate allergies.
While you are more likely to find a cluster of ladybugs overwintering on the windowsill in the suburbs, the city is not immune to such visitors. To prevent ladybugs from being your autumn guests, seal up cracks around your windows.
If you thought the neighbors were noisy, try living with a cricket as a roommate. These little guys will drive you crazy as you follow the sound trying to catch them.
Besides keeping you up at night, indoor crickets feed on clothing and carpets, and can stain your belongings with their fecal matter.
9. Stink Bugs
There’s another invasive species that loves to nest in your window sills in the fall: the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.
These err…fragrant pests were introduced to the United States in the 1990s. They are quite harmless to humans (crops are another matter), but when threatened or killed, oh boy do they smell. As with ladybugs, your best bet for prevention is to weatherstrip your windows.
10. Cluster Flies
If you live in a house with a yard, you might experience these pests in the fall. Looking much like ordinary houseflies, cluster flies like to weather the cool days indoors, then “cluster” at the window on warm days waiting to be let out.
Installing weather stripping, repairing screens, and plugging holes are important steps to prevent fall pests from entering your home.
Follow these Integrated Pest Management steps:
- Reduce access to your apartment by sealing cracks and holes.
- Remove access to water by fixing leaks and eliminating standing water.
- Reduce access to food by keeping your kitchen clean, your dishes washed, and your garbage and recycling empty.
- Call in the professionals selectively as needed.
Our licensed pest control experts are always here to help. At MMPC, we employ customized pest solutions for every type of home or business.
If you’re not sure what type of pest is haunting you, we also offer a Free Pest Identification Service.