The types of insects that are trying to reach your home this fall

Learn about the types of insects that are trying to reach your home this fall

It is a downfall, and that means emigration. The birds are heading south. Squirrels and squirrels go out in full force, collecting nuts for the winter. As temperatures drop, insects look for warm places, like your home, to shelter.

Some of these insects - like spiders and centipedes - probably shouldn't come as a surprise. But others may seem new to you.

Take, for example, the brown stink bug. They are 2 cm in length and about the same width, with a flat brown belly. They are native to Asia and are found here in North America because they were accidentally introduced to the United States in 1998.

"It was first discovered in Ontario in 2010," Cynthia Scott Dupree, professor of sustainable pest management at Guelph.

"It has since been established in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia."

While we focus on these invasive species of stink bugs, it's worth noting that several stink bugs are found in Ontario. "Some are pests, like the brown stink bug; others are what we call beneficial," says Dr. Scott Dupre.

Beneficial, smelly insects act as natural biological control, catch and consume pest insects. On the other hand, pest insects can cause significant damage to crops. More on that later.

Smelly insects are not poisonous, but they are armed with a defense mechanism that, given their name, is not difficult to detect.

When they are disturbed, they release a foul-smelling chemical, but you wouldn't usually pick them up unless there was a group of them.

You'll likely see brown stink bugs congregating on brick roofs on warm fall days in an attempt to soak up some heat. They are also looking for a way to get inside.

If they find their way inside, here's the good news: They're not likely to cause any structural damage, and they don't bite or sting. But when you zoom out, it comes with its fair share of problems on a national scale.

Damage to agriculture

The brown stink bug feeds on about 170 plants, which are crops, which pose a danger to farmers. In 2010, they decimated apple crops in the US Mid-Atlantic, resulting in damages of $37 million (US).

"Their numbers are increasing," Dr. Scott Dupree says. "So far, in Canada, the damage hasn't been [significant]."

Even so, "so far" is the takeaway here. Currently, brown stink bugs reproduce at a rate of about two generations per year. But suppose the weather continues to rise and the seasons increase. In that case, there is a possibility of a third-generation, which means that the population numbers will grow steadily in the fall.

"They like to attack apple crops when they are ready to harvest," says Dr. Scott Dupre.

"So if we get larger numbers of them as we get closer to fall, there is a greater potential impact that these insects can have on the agricultural sector."

Efforts to control stink bugs continue, but you can make your home less attractive to them by:

Cleaning and vacuuming regularly.

Remove crumbs from counters and floors.

Store food in airtight containers.

Close the cracks and openings in windows, doors, and walls.

Repair leaky faucets and cracks in your plumbing.

Dehumidify with a dehumidifier.

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