When Refinishing Stripped Furniture Should You Stain Or Glue First Identify and Control the New Season’s Pests

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Identify and Control the New Season’s Pests

No matter what season it is, there always seems to be a pest of the moment, whether you are dealing with it outside or inside your home. The month of September brings forth many critters. We will focus on wasps, crickets, boxelder bugs, and cicada killers, what kind of danger they pose to humans, and what you can to control them from invading your home for the winter.

Wasps

Some types of stinging wasps can pose grave health and safety threats to humans, especially when people are stung after getting too close to wasp nests constructed near homes, buildings and recreational areas. In such situations, it may be necessary to control the wasps, even though most wasps are beneficial pollinators and predators of other insects.

Most wasps are social insects, living in nests that they build and defend cooperatively. The stinger of social wasps is primarily a defensive tool, designed to protect both nest and colony. However, when defending a colony, multiple wasp stings can occur quickly, with each wasp stinging one or more times. Wasp nests are constructed of a paper-like material and may be found either above or below ground.

Wasps sting their victims and inject venom from the rear of the tail. The stinger in all wasps and bees is a modified egg-laying organ, so only females can sting. Wasp stings usually result in intense pain, with swelling and redness at the site of the sting. Stings around the head, eyes and neck are especially serious. Allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis typically occurs within 20 to 30 minutes of a sting, although shock and death can occur as quickly as 10 to 15 minutes.

Wasp Control

Aerial nests of paper wasps can easily be eliminated using rapid knock-down insecticides or aerosol products specifically designed for this purpose. Some aerosol containers will propel the insecticide 10 to 40 feet or more. For best results, treat in the late evening when most wasps have returned to the nest. When spraying, stand well away from the colony and soak the nest thoroughly. Do not remove the nest until all wasps are dead, which may require up to two days. The nest can then be removed and discarded.

Cicada Killers

Among the largest of the wasp family, cicada killers are yellow and black striped, and grow over two inches long. Appropriately named for their tendency to hunt cicadas, these wasps also sting and use their stinger to sedate and paralyze prey. Female wasps will dig burrows throughout yards, mulch and sand areas.

Inside the home however, cicada killers’ nests can be startling for homeowners and it is important to make sure these insects don’t make themselves at home permanently. While cicada killers are large and may seem very aggressive, they generally do not attack easily, unless stepped on, caught in clothing, or provoked in some way. It is definitely not a good idea to get too close to their nests.

Cicada Killer Control

Treat the cicada killer’s burrows after dark to make sure the female wasps are in their nests. The male wasps usually can be found on plants near the burrow sites. They can be captured with an insect net during the day.

Similar to general wasp control, you can use insecticides or aerosol products to spray the nest.

Crickets

While crickets are harmless to humans, they can become a great annoyance when too many of them enter your home and cause damages. Adult house crickets are 3/4 to 1 inch long, pale yellow-brown with three dark bands on the head. Crickets are prone to eat anything they can chew on, while causing damage to clothing, paper, silk, woolens, fruits, vegetables, and all kinds of food, especially when left out. Crickets are prone to warm places, so you can usually find them in your kitchen, basement, fireplace as well as in cracks and crevices.

Cricket Control

First, check around the outside of your home for cracks and openings that crickets may use as an entrance to get into your home. Caulk or repair these openings and also check around your home’s foundation, doors and first floor windows.

To prevent crickets from entering the home, maintain your lawn by keeping weeds to a minimum and grass cut short. Make sure you remove piles of wood, brush, bricks and anything else that crickets could potentially use as a hiding place.

If you already have crickets in the home, don’t break out with your insecticide just yet. You can place sticky glue boards in corners of the room. Glue boards can be purchased at most hardware stores, usually for mouse control. If you are hearing the cricket chirping sounds at night, place the glueboard, along with a small amount of cornmeal in the center, and place it near the sound. Utilizing this simple technique can quickly rid your home of annoying crickets.

Boxelder Bugs

Like crickets, boxelder bugs do not cause any harm to humans, but again, they can become a great nuisance, especially when they enter your home and ruin your belongings. If there are many of them in a home, they can stain the walls, curtains, furniture and other surfaces with their excrement.

Boxelder bugs are about half an inch long and one-third inch wide, with a dark brownish gray to black and reddish orange markings of three red lines on the area behind the head. The wings are overlapped and fold over each other and red lines mark the lateral margins of the wings. Boxelder bugs are commonly mistaken for largus bugs and redshouldered bugs.

In warm season, boxelder bugs feed on several kinds of trees, but when the fall season begins and cooler temperatures arise, these bugs move to a different shelter, such as under shingles or siding, around doors and windows and openings in the home’s foundation. Once they make it inside the home, boxelder bugs tend to move to warm areas, such as a window.

Boxelder Bug Control

Prevent boxelder bugs from moving into your home by checking the outside of your home for openings that these bugs may be able to use as an entrance.

Prevention is a good way to keep boxelder bugs from moving into a house. Check the outside of the structure for any areas that boxelder bugs may find to be a suitable overwintering location. Preventive actions include:

  • Seal cracks and crevices with caulk or expanding foam.
  • Using caulk or expanding foam, seal the areas where pipes or wires enter the structure.
  • Stuff weep holes with steel wool, copper mesh or plastic screening made specifically for weep holes (kits are available).
  • Replace or repair any damaged window screens.
  • Replace any damaged weather stripping around the doors. If you can see daylight around the doors when closed, replace the weather stripping.
  • Install a door sweep on exterior doors and a rubber seal along the bottom of garage doors.
  • Repair or replace damaged screens or soffit vents in the roof and eaves area of the structure.
  • Having knowledge of what these insects do and whether they can potentially harm you and your family, or just your home, is very significant. Identifying insects found in your home and how to control them should be a homeowner’s priority. September may bring temperatures down a bit and provide relief for you, but be careful not to neglect the insect issue that could surface in and around your home.

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