What Was The Spider Doing On The Computer?… Searching The Web!!!!
I have mentioned briefly about different pests that can come in on plants and produce especially at this time of year. I thought now was a good time to go a little deeper into this subject. Many other animals and creatures are also preparing for the long cold winter and some of them have your home as an ideal place to spend it. Most of these if not all will be unwelcome. Spiders, Mice and Rats, Stink Bugs, Ear Wigs and Silver Fish, and the good old Cockroach all need a good home for the winter. Most are harmless, others not so much but all are annoying. They enter in through doors, windows, small openings in foundations, around pipes and cables entering your house, vents, chimneys and other small spaces.
Mice can enter a home through an opening less than the diameter of a pencil, they can jump, climb and swim. They leave behind about 100 feces droppings per day and constant micro droplets of urine that carry many different types of pathogens. They chew wiring that can lead to fire and use various soft materials to nest and can have a half dozen babies every three weeks. Although they have poor eye sight they have a good ears and a great sense of smell and are very adaptable to their environment.
Spiders are mostly way smaller than Mice so they can gain access through even smaller spaces. They are attracted by moisture and food in the form of dead flies. Many people are terrified of spiders but we only have a few really poisonous spiders in our area and these with proper treatment are not fatal. The Brown Recluse and the Black Widow which I have actually had experience with. Not pleasant if you aren’t fond of IV antibiotics a couple times a day for a week. For those who are truly terrified of spiders you have only one option, they do not exist in the Antarctic. They tend to like dark, cool places such as wood piles, attics and basements and can be aggressive when disturbed. They dislike citrus fruit like lemons and limes, Eucalyptus, Peppermint oil and leaves and vinegar. This can be used to discourage them from entering your home by applying these scents around windows and doors, be sure to clear up dead and crawling insects in your home including attics and basements by vacuuming often and thoroughly and remove any spider webs. Outside lighting does not attract spiders but it does attract their food source so use sparingly. Spiders are nocturnal, have poor eyesight and rely on vibration in the air and ground to hunt and navigate their environment. Many people swear that by placing Horse Chestnut also known as Conkers around the house will discourage them. Drill holes in the ends of the chestnuts and place them around the house in the attic, basement, cold room and laundry. They are poisonous to animals so keep them out of reach or put the in mesh bags to prevent any problems.
Ear Wigs hibernate over the winter. They are drawn into your home by moisture, warmth and food all things ideal for reproduction. They do not do damage to your home, they are just annoying, Somewhat related to them is the Silver Fish they too like dark, damp environments in basements, attics, bathrooms and kitchens. They do do damage to your home. They love paper and will do damage to books, wall paper and clothing. They will invade food sources not properly stored in sealed air tight containers like cereals, rice, pasta, flour and sugar but they can survive a long time without a food source and reproduce rapidly. They are not spreaders of disease but there is nothing worse than pouring milk on your cereal in the morning and finding these floating about.
Stink Bugs do hibernate over the winter. It is called Diapause, they do not feed and are relatively inactive over the winter. They do no damage and do not spread disease just annoying especially when they wake up mid winter for a quick fly about. They attract others to your home by using a pheromone so do not step on them to kill them as your shoes will bring that irresistible aroma into your home.
There are a few more pests that may make an appearance in your home but the prevention and treatment is about the same. Seal door and window frames with caulking and door brush strips. Openings that lead into your home from pipes, wires or cracks should be sealed or use steel mesh to plug them. Put screens over vents. This must be done all over the house including roof and chimney. Keep fire wood at least 20 feet from your home. Remove vegetation and tree limbs that are up against your house. Dehumidifiers will reduce humidity in basements and crawl spaces. Proper storage of food stuffs, make sure that items brought into the house from outside or garages are not contaminated. The same with second hand appliances. Traps, essential oils and sprinkling Diatomaceous earth around baseboards and foundations will deter or destroy them. On that cheery note I wish you Happy Gardening!!!
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
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