Uninvited Guests

Uninvited Guests

Uninvited Guests. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
Cooler temperatures and shorter days are driving insects indoors these days, including some exotic species. It's all part of a seasonal problem for homeowners and apartment dwellers in the Northwest. Many insects jump at the chance- or more appropriately crawl at the chance to find safe harbor and warm temperatures as winter approaches. That often prompts a phone call to the local Department of Agriculture.

LABONTE:  We get calls throughout the year but fall and winter is when we get most of these calls because there are several species of insects- both introduced and native- that enter houses in large numbers this time of year.

Entomologist Jim Labonte says homeowners actually need not be too concerned about these bugs even though they may be a nuisance.

LABONTE:  They are not a threat to humans or pets or to the structures in any way manner or form.

What to do about these pests? It depends on how many you have and your tolerance for insects. But in most cases, homeowners can take care of the problem themselves by escorting the bugs outdoors or even using a vacuum cleaner if they are in large numbers. Labonte says taking a preventive measure is a good way to handle unwanted insects coming into your home.

LABONTE: The best thing to do is to seal up points of access like the gaps under doors leading outside, any windows that may not be sealed very well, dryer vents, things like that. That's really the best and most effective strategy you can use to keep them from coming in.

One exotic pest of interest, however, is the brown marmorated stink bug, which has been found in Portland area homes. The pest gives off a bad odor and can destroy crops if it gets established outdoors. ODA wants to hear from those who may detect these unsavory insects.

LABONTE: It's known to be a pest in the sense of aggregating in people's homes in Asia, which is it's homeland, and it's doing the exact same thing here. It's also a crop pest of considerable proportions in Asia. So we are very interested in finding out any reports of this species outside of the Portland metro area.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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