Earwigs, Ladybugs, Pest Prevention, Stink Bugs | Posted: February 20, 2024

Occasional Invaders in the Southeastern United States

If you’re a homeowner, chances are, you’ve probably had a few unwanted pest guests in the past. Ants, cockroaches, rodents, and flies are among the most common culprits at the heart of a pest invasion — but every so often, you might encounter something a bit out of the ordinary. Pest control experts call these nuisance pests occasional invaders, and they tend to appear seemingly out of nowhere.

If you’ve noticed an uptick in pest activity, you may wonder, “Why are these creatures intruding, and how can I get rid of them?” The Dodson Pest Control team spoke with Desiree Straubinger, a pest control expert, to share some insights.

What Are Occasional Invaders?

Occasional invaders are pests that intermittently infiltrate our homes due to adverse external weather conditions that make their natural habitats inhospitable. According to Straubinger, “Most occasional invaders don’t typically populate inside a structure. They can, if the conditions are right. But they don’t typically.”

Instances of occasional invaders encompass a wide range of nuisance pests, including:

  • Boxelder bugs
  • Centipedes
  • Crickets
  • Earwigs
  • Asian lady beetles (lady bugs)
  • Millipedes
  • Pillbugs
  • Scorpions
  • Silverfish
  • Slugs

Identifying the Most Common Occasional Invaders in the Southeastern United States

In order to properly address an occasional invader infestation, you need to know what pest you’re dealing with. In the Southeastern United States, these five pests are more common than others:

  1. Centipedes
  2. Ground beetles
  3. Ladybugs
  4. Crickets
  5. Stink bugs

Centipedes: Many-Legged Terrors

Centipedes, with their many legs and swift crawling movement, can be a terrifying sight. Recognized for their agility in capturing prey and evading predators, these creatures are generally harmless to humans, but that doesn’t make them any less unsettling. The common house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) is often encountered as a household pest, but they typically live outside and only make their way indoors in small numbers.

Ground Beetles: Unwanted Guests in Your Home

Ground beetles are small, metallic black beetles that can enter homes through small openings. These beetles do not cause any form of structural harm to residential properties. While they don’t pose a direct threat, they may emit a defensive odor or leave stains if crushed.

Lady Bugs: Cute but Cumbersome

Ladybugs, with their small, round bodies and distinct spots, are often seen as cute and harmless creatures. However, they can become a nuisance when they enter homes, especially during winter, to overwinter in structures.

Crickets: Noisy Nuisances

Crickets are small insects known for their loud chirping, especially at night. Because they’re so loud, when they make their way inside, they can be a major inconvenience. Plus, crickets may damage fabrics, paper, and even certain types of furniture as they feed on these materials.

house cricket

Stink Bugs: Destructive When Unchecked

Stink bugs, named for the unpleasant odor they emit when disturbed, can cause significant harm to plants and crops. In most cases, stink bugs require little or no control when found indoors, as they do not reproduce or cause structural damage inside homes. But if you’ve noticed stink bugs lingering in your garden, it’s wise to call in pest control professionals. Since stink bugs aren’t native to the United States, they don’t have any natural predators, and they can quickly cause substantial problems for farmers.

Overwintering: The Seasonal Surge of Invaders

Overwintering is like a survival strategy used by insects and plants to cope with the tough winter conditions. For insects, it means finding ways to deal with the cold and lack of resources during winter. Some insects take a break from growing and slow down their metabolism (called diapause, similar to hibernation) to save energy. Others hide in safe places like leaves, soil, or cracks in buildings to stay protected from the harsh weather. This clever adaptation helps them stay alive until spring comes with better conditions. And when all else fails — insects may seek shelter indoors as occasional invaders.

Battle Against Bugs: Controlling Occasional Invaders

By taking proactive measures, you can reduce the chance you’ll experience occasional invaders. The following steps will detail three primary strategies: sealing entrances, controlling moisture, and scheduling routine sprayings.

Seal Entrances.

One of the most effective ways to prevent occasional invaders from entering your home is by sealing potential entry points. You should plan to inspect and reseal entrances every 3 months in order to effectively prevent pest invasions. Typical entry points for pests to gain access to a residence may include:

  • Foundation cracks
  • Roof vents, vents, and exhaust fans
  • Doors and windows
  • Gutters
  • Garage doors
  • Attics

If you’re handy, you can probably tackle this work yourself, but if you’d rather let the professionals handle it, pest control technicians possess the expertise to effectively identify and seal potential entry points.

Use Moisture Control Methods.

Occasional invaders are attracted to moisture and dampness in homes. Areas in the household that are prone to flooding like basements and crawl spaces can be hot spots for pest activity. Plus, these sites aren’t trafficked as much, making them even more attractive to insects like centipedes, millipedes, and silverfish. If you’re concerned your home may be harboring excess moisture, consider consulting with a professional to develop a moisture control plan. They may recommend fixes like ensuring proper grading for water runoff, adding extra ventilation to avoid damp conditions, and eliminating standing water.

Schedule Routine Sprayings.

Scheduling regular spraying for pest control aids in the early detection of pest activity prevents pests from infiltrating a space, and safeguards your home from destructive pests. While no two properties are the same, professionals typically recommend routine pest control spraying every two or three months.

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Dodson Pest Control Can Address Your Pest Concerns

If you are dealing with a pest problem and need professional help, the Dodson Pest Control team is here to help. We’ve been in business for over 75 years, and our inspectors are highly familiar with pest behavior, even if the culprits are occasional invaders.

Dodson Pest Control utilizes an integrated pest management approach, incorporating industry-grade tools and pesticides, various treatment methods such as fumigation and bait, as well as exterior protection barriers, to prevent pest infestations. And if you’d like to set up a routine maintenance plan, we’re happy to get that set up.

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