Ag Notes: Rid your home of assorted bugs

November 11, 2003|JERRY LITTLE

You may have noticed your home being invaded by assorted pests including Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, crickets, spiders and black soldier beetle larvae. These creatures typically visit homes that provide easy entry this time of year, often seeking refuge from changing weather.

A swatter, broom or vacuum cleaner and trash container will take care of pests that occasionally wander indoors. It's best to deal with boxelder bugs and lady beetles outside, before they enter your home.

Following these guidelines will help pest-proof your home or place of business.

Install door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors, paying particular attention to the bottom corners that are a common entry location. Insects and spiders can enter through a gap of one-sixteenth of an inch or less. Lying on the floor, check for light entering under doors; this indicates possible pest entryways.

To close other potential pest entries, apply caulk on the bottom outside edges and sides of door thresholds; fit garage doors with a rubber bottom seal because vinyl seals poorly in the winter; and seal gaps under sliding glass doors by lining the bottom track with foam weather stripping one-half to three-fourths of an inch wide.


You can use caulk, cement, urethane expandable foam, steel wool and copper mesh to plug openings around outdoor faucets, receptacles, gas meters, clothes dryer vents and telephone or cable television wires.

Apply a good-quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk to cracks around windows, doors, fascia boards and other openings. Before you apply the caulk, clean existing caulk, and remove any that's peeling to aid adhesion.

Be sure to use a good caulking gun. Desirable features are a back-off trigger to stop caulk when desired, a built-in "slicer" to remove the tip from new caulking tubes, and a nail to punctuate the seal within. These guns are available for less than $10.

To reduce the entry of lady beetles, cluster flies and other overwintering pests, repair gaps and tears in window and door screens. Keep windows closed when adults are emerging to prevent entry.

Another way to prevent pest entry is to apply an exterior (barrier) treatment with insecticides. To gain the most from this effort, apply long-lasting liquid formulations that contain synthetic pyrethroids. These products are available at some hardware, lawn and garden shops.

Use a compressed-air or hose-end sprayer to treat the base of all exterior doors, garage, crawl space entrances, foundation vents, utility openings and up beneath siding. It's also useful to treat the foundation outside perimeter with a two- to six-foot-wide band along the ground and two to three feet up the foundation wall.

If you prefer not to tackle these pest-proofing activities, contact a professional pest control firm.

Painting a horse purple

A cowboy came out of the saloon to find someone had painted his horse purple. He stormed back into the saloon and picked up a barstool.

"All right," he screamed, "I want to know which one of you low-down, dirty, sidewinders painted my horse purple?!"

A huge giant of a cowboy slowly stood up, took the barstool from the cowboy, broke it over his knee, and answered, "I painted your horse purple. What have you got to say about that?"

To which the cowboy replied, "Well, I thought you might want to know it's ready for a second coat."

Jerry Little is Boyle County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

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