As temperatures drop, bugs are looking for a warm place to go, like inside your home. Keep the insects outside with these three tips.
Don't invite bugs in
Remove all the open "windows and doors" so to speak. To an ant, cricket or box elder bug, a quarter-inch crack is an invitation to come inside. You don't leave your doors and windows open all winter, so don't leave those cracks around them open. Use a good latex or silicon caulk around doors and windows, around the water, gas and utility lines that enter your house, and where your siding meets your foundation.
Next check the screens on your doors and windows, the weather strips on outside doors, and the weather strip on the bottom of your garage door. If there are holes, tears or worn spots, repair or replace them so that the insects and the cold weather stay out this winter. The money you spend here will likely be repaid in lower utility bills.
Clean up around the house
Over time, plants get bigger potentially making it difficult to get between some of your foundation shrubs and the house so do some pruning. Keeping limbs from trees and bushes off your house will make it more difficult for insects to crossover and find an entrance inside. The extra air movement may also help to eliminate moist areas around the foundation that often attract decomposing insects.
Clear out any leaves, piled wood or other material against the house. These provide a great hiding place for insects. Keep the space clear around your house and you're much less likely to have uninvited insect guests.
Create an insect barrier
Once you have all the physical spaces closed off, and all the good hiding places removed, treat the foundation and soil immediately around your house with an insecticide. This invisible barrier can reduce insect populations that might be living in the soil cracks around your home. It can also help to reduce populations of insects that wander into the area looking for a place to take cover as the weather turns cool. There are a number of general purpose insecticides that would work for this barrier spray, but might include active ingredients like, cypermethrin, bifenthrin, Lamda-Cyhalothrin, and Cyfluthrin.
Always read pesticide labels to make sure you are applying safely and at the recommended temperature and amounts.
For more information about keeping pests away, visit the Johnson County's K-State Research and Extension Office' website.