Oct 09 2010

Through the Cracks

Published by at 9:24 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs,Weather & Sky


I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing way too much Nature indoors lately. 

Yesterday’s suddenly warm weather heated up the bugs and they came inside.  Fortunately I’ve not seen what I consider “too many” of these critters:

  • Brown marmorated stink bugs:  After a brief hiatus (when it was raining) the parade of stink bugs distracted us at work yesterday.  Despite their large appearance stink bugs can flatten themselves into a narrow profile and drag their large shielded backs through tiny slits.  I’ve actually seen one emerge through the crack under my office window.  Eeeeewwww!
  • House centipedes:  At home we have had all sizes of house centipedes though thankfully not in great numbers.  I really hate them because their fast-moving legs give me the creeps.  My cat points them out by watching and waiting to pounce.  Get them, Emmy!  (…p.s. See Steve-o’s comment below about what centipedes eat.  Maybe I should let them live!)
  • Common house spiders:  Their cobwebs are in nooks and crannies around the house where I had hoped they’d capture the stink bugs and centipedes.  Unfortunately these spiders are too small to tackle such large insects.  Some webs have no spiders; Emmy eats them.  Even the empty webs perform a useful function:  When you want to seal your leaking heating ducts, look for cobwebs nearby.  Spiders always build where there’s moving air.

And here’s what I haven’t seen yet — and hope to avoid:

  • Asian lady beetles:  Though beneficial these bugs are annoying in large numbers.  I haven’t seen them inside yet but their favorite invasion month is October.  Alas, they’re bound to come.
  • Mice:  In the fall of 2001, I discovered I had mice when my indoor cats gave me presents:  a white-footed mouse and a house mouse.  Where there’s one mouse there’s always more, and where there are two species the house is a sieve.  I stopped them by cementing all the outdoor cracks around the foundation.  Well worth the effort, though my cats were disappointed.

The parade of indoor Nature is underway.   Now’s the time to seal the cracks.

(photo by Achim Hering from Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the photo to see the original)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Through the Cracks”

  1. John Englishon 09 Oct 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Stink bugs – I’ve actually had more problems with them in my vehicles (personal and w*rk) than I have in the house. While they don’t really excite me, some of my passengers have been quite disturbed.
    At home I use diatomaceous earth to eliminate most pests. Don’t use this if you have pets or small children.
    I’ve seen various blogs that say to spray them with alcohol or a vinegar/water/soap mix. Have not tried any of those methods. I just use GreenThumb insect spray. Takes about 5 minutes to knock them dead.

  2. faith cornellon 09 Oct 2010 at 1:41 pm

    We have been battling or rather batting the stink bugs all day now since our condo is on the sunny side & I do notice that there is slightest slit between the screen on the sliding glass door & the frame; doesn’t take much for them. But after a morning walk on my return I saw about 25 wild turkeys in the parking lot; its what you must accept & look for the other “wild life”. Some of the turkeys were actually sitting on the lower branches; all looked extremely well fed. Interesting in your house tho!!!!

  3. barbaraon 09 Oct 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Oh I thought I had missed the invasion of the Asian ladybugs!!! The first year I lived here, three years ago, they took over the southeast and southwest sides of my home. And spare me centipedes please! Your photo is of a very early building — hopefully it is yours as old is so charming. — barbara

  4. Marcy Con 09 Oct 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Kate,
    The Stink bugs are here, but thankfully NOT in great numbers…the ladybugs will show up, after the first frost and then the first warm sunny day, like today…it’s beautiful out there. Busy taking some photos of the colors, bugs, butterflies and birds. Still hoping for more monarchs and hummers..the flowers are brought back out and they are ready for the hummers….the bees and butterflies appreciate them and they make me happy to see the blooms. Hope you went somewhere great today and saw something special to report!

  5. Kate St. Johnon 09 Oct 2010 at 5:22 pm

    The photo is a house in Ontario. My house was built in 1907 so it does have quite a few cracks. I should have spent the day filling them. Instead I took a walk in Schenley Park.

  6. Libby Strizzion 10 Oct 2010 at 7:49 am

    I’m glad to hear someone else has house centipedes. I’ve seen quite a few this year, and yes, they give me the creeps too. I was thinking I had dirty drains or ducts or something, since I had more of them this year. Another critter I had for the first time was “drain flies” — small black flies, about 1/8 inch in size, that appear in my bathroom. I didn’t know what they were, so I googled “drain flies,” and sure enough, that’s what they are called. I poured bleach down the drain, and that would help for a few days. I went away for a week recently & when I returned, no drain flies — it’s been 5 days since I returned. Maybe the drains need to dry out, as they do when I’m away. Or maybe it’s a summer thing, and they are gone. I can hope! What a yucky topic — back to birds.

  7. Jon 11 Oct 2010 at 12:41 am

    Heh, when I was an undergrad at Allegheny College I had to deal with some sort of infestation 3 straight years and in 3 different buildings. The first year it was mice, the 2nd year it was lady beetles, and the 3rd it was spiders. Only the mice really bothered me though.

    I get the occasional spider in my apartment in Oakland now and Libby, I also get drain flies every summer so I thinks it’s a seasonal thing. Had a centipede in my shower once too. The flies are annoying, but otherwise the bugs don’t bother me none. Just kill’em and move on.

  8. Steve-oon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:18 pm

    House Centipedes are good to have around. They eat cockroaches and other bugs that you don’t really want to have. I hate to look at them too, but I’ve learned to ignore them now until they go and hide somewhere else.

    “House Centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) are your *friends*… and are beneficial to hearth and home.

    Yes, they look freaky… and can and WILL startle you. However, House Centipedes act as a top-notch line of insect control… by eating all those creatures in your house that you hate most: flies, silverfish, termites, bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, etc.

    House Centipedes themselves remain clean and harmless to we human beings… and are in fact a sign of a clean household.

    The Japanese learned this a long time ago… and, even today, sell them in stores for the home.”

  9. Kate St. Johnon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Steve-o, that’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I will urge them to hurry away to their hiding places… and to eat a silverfish while they’re at it.

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