Cooler temperatures often move critters inside

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu
Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown, 512-854-9600,  ebrown@ag.tamu.edu

AUSTIN – Hungry hoards of mosquitoes, katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and other assorted pests-Texans have pretty much seen them all this summer, but will the onslaught stop once cooler weather hits?

“The bugs of summer will subside, but a new slate is ready and willing to move right in with you,” said “Wizzie” Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist at Austin.

“Usually during drought conditions or when the weather begins to get cooler insects and other arthropods like spiders and scorpions will move indoors. In the case of drought, they are often searching for water, and with cooler temperatures, like us, they want a cozy place to stay.”

Brown is a strong advocate of integrated pest management, a series of practices that when used together manages pests in the  most effective and environmentally sound ways available.

She said simply keeping pests out of the house in the first place is the best and easiest way to keep your family safe. She offered the following tips to accomplish that:

– Prune trees and shrubs so they do not touch or overhang the house.
– Don’t stack firewood or anything else against the house.
– Weather strip doors and windows, especially if you see daylight around them.
– Block weep holes in homes with brick or stone facades using steel wool or copper mesh
where rusting steel wool stains could be unsightly.

– Use caulk or expanding foam to fill cracks and crevices on the outside of the home and around pipe and wire penetrations.

– Keep window screens in good repair.
– Use stainless steel mesh to block attic access points.

“As with any unwanted intruder, the trouble starts once they enter your home,” Brown said.

Brown helped develop AgriLife Extension’s ISEC Home Pest Management Program. ISEC stands for the strategies to best manage  pests. They are; Identify, Sanitize, Exclude and Control.

Check it out at  http://ipm.tamu.edu/isec/ to learn the “Top 10 Most Wanted Pests” and how to control them or join her blog at http://urban-ipm.blogspot.com/  .
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