Although it is impossible to totally eliminate all pests from entering your home, there are several things you can do around your home to help.
Put tight-fitting screens on windows, attics, vents and foundation vents and keep them in good repair. Seal cracks and holes around foundations, doors, windows and vents. Inspect incoming pets, groceries, furnishings, houseplants and firewood. You should also clean up all the leaves and debris around the foundation of your house, since they may harbor pests.
Regardless of how hard you work to keep your home insect and pest free, some of them will find a way indoors. Once they are inside, a couple of the best methods of getting rid of them are using your vacuum cleaner to collect them or spray them with an aerosol insecticide labeled for use indoors. Homeowners can also spray the foundation of their home with an outdoor contact insecticide to make a barrier the insects must cross to get inside your home. This method works well on some insects, but it is not effective against flies, wasps and other pests that can fly. Depending on your situation, you may want to contact a local exterminating company to get there assistance.
As we try to insect-proof our homes, we should keep in mind that many insects like ladybugs and boxelder bugs are not harmful to humans or our homes, but they can be a nuisance. Ladybugs are actually beneficial insects that feed on aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and mites found on our houseplants, outdoor shrubbery and vegetable garden plants. Plus, as we move on into the colder winter months, we will not see as much of some of these pests until the warmer temperatures return next spring.
If you have questions or want to get an insect identified, call or stop by the Walker County Extension Office at 102 E. Napier Street in LaFayette.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.