By Eric Paysen, Technical Services Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management
Winter is often a welcome relief for pest management professionals who have been battling warm-weather pests through the spring and summer. However, cooler temperatures in the fall can bring unexpected surprises when insects normally found outside start invading customers’ homes and properties.
Insects don’t internally regulate their body temperature, and most cannot remain active during cold weather because the sun’s heat isn’t sufficient enough to warm them. As daylight hours shorten and temperatures drop, these insects seek refuge from cold conditions in places like caves, hollow trees and under leaf litter. Unfortunately, the voids, attics and corners inside climate-controlled structures are attractive overwintering sites as well.
When found alone or in small numbers, fall invaders are not often a cause for concern and can easily be removed. However, some species aggregate and may come indoors by the hundreds or even thousands. In areas where this is common, it’s important to know the local pests and take preventive or corrective measures.
As with all pest management protocols, start with identification. Overwintering pests can take many forms, and the diversity of insects that may enter structures makes this a challenge. The short list of usual suspects includes the following:
- Kudzu bugs
- Multi-colored Asian lady beetles
- Box elder bugs
- Stink bugs
- Cluster flies
- Leaf-footed bugs
- Elm leaf beetles
Resources like the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control and local knowledge can help you identify these fall invaders and understand their specific life cycles.
Large aggregations of pests, like multi-colored Asian lady beetles and cluster files, can be easily removed with a vacuum when exposed in corners or windowsills. Don’t attempt to kill large numbers inside wall voids, as their dead bodies can attract secondary pests like Dermestid beetles, which can sometimes cause more complaints than the original overwintering insects.
In areas where overwintering pests are common, prevention is the best strategy and relies on physical and chemical barriers. Physical exclusion involves sealing cracks and gaps with caulk or other materials, and tightly sealing vents with mesh screens. Unfortunately, because of the small size of the pests and the countless openings on a typical structure, complete physical exclusion is not always possible. That’s why chemical barriers are an important part of a prevention program and should include a product that is fast-acting and delivers long-lasting residual control.
Demand® CS insecticide can fit that bill. As a microencapsulated pyrethroid, it provides immediate and residual control that lasts up to 90 days. Demand CS features unique iCAP™ technology, with microcaps that can be easily picked up by fall invaders and provide quick knockdown outside before they gain entry. Demand CS should be used as a preventive fall application starting in mid-to-late August, well before the first frost. Follow typical perimeter use patterns and include vertical surfaces near openings, eaves and overhangs where pests might aggregate and attempt to enter structures.
Developing a sound strategy early on in the battle against fall invaders can result in pest-free success for your customers. For more information about fall invader control, visit www.SyngentaPMP.com.
©2018 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, iCAP™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).