Keeping up with fall-time critters

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One of the fall time critters that everyone hopes won't be bugging us this year is the Asian Lady Beetle.

Thus far, I have not seen any Asian Lady Beetles out and about, but my guess is they will be arriving in the next couple of weeks.

Asian Lady Beetles can vary in color, but they all can be identified by looking at their thorax (area between the head and wing covers) for a black "M."

Sometimes, the "M" is darker and more obvious, but it is always there.

Asian Lady Beetles are often found in congregations following the first cold weather snap.

Asian Lady Beetles will not stay outside for long following the cold snap.

Therefore, it is important that you take time and fill any cracks or holes leading into your house.

Once inside the house, the beetles essentially remain in a hibernation-like mode for several months.

After warm weather hits, the beetles spring back to life and begin crawling around, intensifying the nuisance factor.

For more information about Asian Lady Beetles, contact your local Purdue Extension Office to receive a free copy of Purdue publication E-214-W, "Asian Lady Beetles."

There is another fall-time critter that can infest homes that several homeowners have contacted Purdue Extension about this year.

That critter is the Boxelder Bug.

Adult Boxelder Bugs are dark brown to black in color with red lines on their backs.

Their young are wingless and have red bodies with a yellow line down the center of it.

Like the Asian Lady Beetles, Boxelder Bugs are a nuisance because they invade homes once fall temperatures begin to drop.

They are known to squeeze into cracks in the foundation, windows, doors and under siding and shingles in search of a way into a house.

Thus, it is important that you take time to seal off all openings in your house.

Once in the house, you can get rid of Boxelder Bugs by using household insecticides containing pyrethrins or remethrin.

Please remember to read and follow all labels when using any insecticide.

However, it might be easier to use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the Boxelder Bugs instead.

For more information about Boxelder Bugs, contact your local Purdue Extension Office to receive a free copy of Purdue publication E-24-W, "Boxelder Bugs."

Recently, a few clients have asked what to do about the spiders they have seen in their house.

For starters, it is important to realize there are around 400 species of spiders found in Indiana with the main ones for concern (for health reasons) being the Black Widow Spider and the Brown Recluse Spider.

The most practical way to control spiders is by sanitation (clean all webbing with a vacuum to destroy eggs and spiders).

You can also do some chemical control by using a long-lasting residual spray containing a pyrethroid insecticide.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Oct. 20 -- Ohio Valley Garden Conference, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Evansville. Cost is $42. Call 812-963-5577 to register,

* Oct. 29 -- Clay County Extension Board meeting, Clay County Extension Office, and

* Oct. 31 -- Clay County Extension Office closed.