Cool Weather and Indoor Insects

Carol Morton
Adams County Master Gardener

The cool weather of Fall is a welcome relief after the hot, dry summer. As we begin to close our windows and doors we may find insects indoors that we did not notice during the summer months.

One such insect found indoors is the Indian meal moth. This insect feeds on a large variety of food products. Indian meal moth larvae are often found feeding in whole wheat flour, cereal., dried fruits, nuts, seeds, graham crackers and powdered milk. Foods infested with these insects will have silk webbing present, especially near the food surface.

Foods should be stored in plastic containers with tight lids. The moths and larvae also like dried flowers, herbs, potpourri, dog and cat food. The adult moths are gray reddish brown. The larvae are usually dirty white and can be found on ceilings and walls As well as in foods.

You may find flies are a nuisance now with the changing temperatures. Flies swarm on porches during the afternoon, then die when the temperatures drop at night. Use your sweeper to get rid of these disease-carrying insects.

Millipedes live out doors in damp areas such as under leaves or mulch, in cracks and crevices feeding on dead or decaying vegetation. They Are active at night and usually coil into a spiral when handled or when they die in a corner of the basement. They are brown and have 160 pairs of legs. Millipedes are known as Accidental invaders. They co not feed upon building structures or furnishings, they can not bite or sting and they do tot reproduce inside the house.

Centipedes have long, flattened, segmented bodies with one pair of legs per segment. The house centipede is up to 1 1/2 inches long and has 15 pairs of very long, slender legs. The body is brown to grayish-yellow and has three dark stripes on top.

House centipedes are found indoors and outdoors, The one on the bathroom or bedroom wall, or the one accidentally trapped in the bathtub, sink, or toilet causes the most concern. However, these locations are not where they normally originate. Centipedes prefer to live in damp portions of basements closets, bathrooms, un6kcavated areas under the house and beneath the bark of firewood stored indoors. They do not come up through the drain pipes.

House centipedes feed on small insects, insect larvae, and on spiders. They are beneficial insects even though many homeowners consider them a nuisance. The house centipede could bite, but it is considered harmless to people. House centipede control consists of drying up and cleaning, as much as possible, the areas that serve as habitat and food source for centipedes. Sanitation both indoors and outdoors will help to eliminate most insect problems.

Using Chemical sprays should always be the last option. The Vacuum sweeper works wonders as a quick and efficient method of removing unwanted pests. Cold weather will soon be hear and most insects will be gone or hidden from view for the winter.

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