GARDENING: Home invaders are arriving!

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Be prepared for the fall home invaders! These are not space invaders, a great video game my husband and I used to play when we first married more than 40 years ago, but rather those pesky insects that love to come into the house.

Boxelder bugs, multi-colored Asian ladybeetles, leaffooted bugs, and others are soon going to seek warm overwintering sites. These sites are usually indoors — in your house.

While very annoying, they don’t hurt, bite or cause major issues for homeowners. Some say that they have been bitten or have skin irritation because of these pests. This may occur.

Boxelder bug eggs have been plentiful on area boxelders. This tree is in the maple family and has a tri-foliate leaf that is sometimes confused with poison ivy.

These true bugs have an incomplete metamorphosis, meaning they go from egg to nymph to adult. The nymphs are wingless and bright red early on, and as they mature, they become darker red.

As adults, the boxelder bug is brownish-black and have reddish stripes on their backs. The abdomen is reddish orange.

Multi-colored Asian ladybeetle (MALB) is a ladybeetle that was imported to our country to control pecan aphids many years ago. Unfortunately, they started moving north and in the early 2000′s, we started seeing then in the Miami Valley area.

I had a colleague who wasn’t worried about them as they were beneficial insects, right? They eat the bad bugs. However, with high populations, they are quite annoying as they try to overwinter in the house.

These ladybeetles are more orange in color and have 22 black spots on their back. They are good bugs to eat aphids, and if we have high populations of aphids in soybeans, they can help clean them up. However, they stick around and annoy homeowners.

Leaffooted bugs are also known as western conifer seed bug. These feed on conifers but don’t cause any harm. They are brown in color and have six legs. The distinguishing characteristic is the flattened section of the back leg.

There are other fall invaders such as brown marmorated stink bugs, houseflies, and spiders. None of these are major problems but are quite annoying. Recommendations include sealing all potential entrances to the home.

I always chuckle at this recommendation because it’s next to impossible to completely seal a house. Just do the best you can.

They are like us – looking for a warm place to hang out over the winter. They don’t feed during the winter months and just sort of hang around.

Sweeping them and sending them back outside is one option – or sweeping them and dumping them into a bucket of soapy water eliminates them.

Be prepared, the time is nearing for them to seek the warmth of your home!

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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