Q: The bugs trying to spend the winter in my home aren’t a hazard, right? I’m going to try to seal up where they may be getting in, but there are already some that have managed to appear inside that would be hard to track down.
A: They don’t bite, aren’t attracted to indoor plants (though they might be drawn to grow lights, as they are to any light source), and are generally just a nuisance. If not easy to find, you can let them wander around until they expire, then dispose of them. Live bugs can be vacuumed or caught and released outside to meet their fate. Boxelder bugs, brown marmorated stink bugs, and multicolored Asian lady beetles are the trio of common culprits here in Maryland. Crickets, pillbugs, and millipedes come inside too, but at least they don’t fly.
Our homes must look like giant boulders to them, basking in the waning sunlight and retaining relative warmth, riddled with inviting crevices in which they can wait out the winter. Our abodes might be especially attractive since our groomed landscapes don’t have as many natural tree cavities, fallen logs, brush piles, or layers of leaf litter to tempt them instead.
If anyone is still puzzled by how they’re getting in, check your door and window weather-stripping for degradation or gaps, look for torn window screening, and inspect vent covers and conduit or pipe entry points on the exterior of the home. Seal any gaps and cracks that you can. If you use a window air conditioner, take it out for the season or plug up any access points around it.
By Miri Talabac, Horticulturist, University of Maryland Extension Home & Garden Information Center. Miri writes the Garden Q&A for The Baltimore Sun and Washington Gardener Magazine. Read more by Miri.
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