As fall approaches, you might be seeing more bugs in and around your home. Most of us think of spring and summer when we think of bugs, but some insects and bugs become more active in fall just before the cold of winter sets in.

Many insects become active in fall looking for a place to spend the winter. The shorter days and temperature drops are a signal to bugs that winter is coming and they begin their journey looking for optimal quarters to spend the coldest months of the year. Here in eastern Virginia where it’s warmer and wetter, bugs will look for drier places safe from water. Here’s a rundown of bugs to look for this fall.

1. Ladybugs

Ladybugs are said to represent good luck, but you might not feel lucky once a swarm of them settles into your home. The term ladybug is given to a variety of beetles that appear red or orange with black spots that can fly. These pretty bugs are mostly harmless and typically a gardener’s dream because they like to eat leaf-eating aphids. However, if they find their way inside your house, take action. Ladybugs looking for a place to winter swarm on sunny fall days in eastern Virginia and emit a pheromone that attracts others. If one of these little beetles finds its way into your home, you are likely to find more and could have an infestation if you don’t respond quickly. When trying to get rid of them, avoid picking them up with your hands. These little flyers secrete a yellow smelly substance that can stain furniture and walls.

2. Spiders

Throughout the fall, you might also notice more eight-legged creatures skittering across your floors. Mating season for spiders begins in late summer and lasts throughout the fall in eastern Virginia. Spiders that were hiding in the walls of your home or just outside the threshold are looking for a mate and a safe place to lay eggs. Spiders like dark, damp places, such as basements, garages, and attics. Once a suitable mate is found, a spider will choose a safe place to lay her eggs that will hatch in spring. Although spiders eat other pests such as cockroaches, hundreds of spiders can emerge from their eggs in spring, making your home their home. You might have a spider problem if your home has egg sacs, a variety of spiders, flying insects, webs in corners and low-lying places, and damp spaces.

3. Stink Bugs

Most bugs active in fall are looking for a safe place to spend the winter and stink bugs are no exception. Stink bugs are sometimes called shield bugs because their shape resembles a shield. But make no mistake, if squished, they will emit a putrid smell. These little bugs can fly and – although mostly harmless – they can be a nuisance if they find their way into your home. Stink bugs can crawl through a space of only a few millimeters. They breed in the summer and are adults by fall looking for a winter home. They can be found anywhere around a home and can fit into extremely tight spaces behind walls, in attics, basements, and molding.

4. Boxelder Bugs

Named for the tree they are often found on and around, the boxelder bug is one of the most common in eastern Virginia. They eat fruit, leaves, flowers, and seed pods of boxelder trees and can be found on ash trees and in yards in general. Boxelder bugs look for safe, warm places to spend their winters and easily find their way into a home through small spaces, loose screens, and cracks in between doors and foundations. If boxelder bugs overwinter in your home, you will be sure to see them again in spring when they emerge from hibernation looking for food. These bugs are annoying and are known to fly more than a mile looking for the right place to bed down for winter, but don’t pose a health risk.

You can protect your home from these and other pests by repairing screens, installing weather stripping, and sealing gaps around your home. Check out the most usual places where high traffic and use can cause gaps around screens, doors, molding, spigots, and outlets. Now is a good time to clean out garages and basements that have gotten cluttered with summer toys, gardening tools, and lawn maintenance equipment.

Regular maintenance and pest control are key to keeping these bugs and other unwelcome insects out of your home. Partnering with an experienced, local pest control and treatment company is the best way to keep unwanted pests out of your home. Our trained technicians use prescribed environmentally safe treatments in local areas so that you don’t have to worry about the safety of pets or kids.