By Rick Thomason

University of Tennessee
Johnson County Extension Director

It’s officially fall and time to prevent occasional invaders from spending the winter in your home. Occasional invaders typically live outdoors and enter structures to avoid unwelcome environmental changes.

So it makes sense to take action to keep the pests on the outside.
The list of occasional invaders is quite extensive and includes multicolored Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, kudzu bugs, boxelder bugs, numerous flies (face fly, blue bottle and cluster flies), mice and clover mites to name a few.
Most can be stopped from entering structures by taking a few simple steps:

1. Check around doors to ensure light cannot be seen around the edges which could indicate gaps. Gaps larger than a 1/4 inch will let mice and smaller pests enter.  Add a brush door sweep, new threshold or weather stripping.  Ensuring brush door sweeps are intact is the single, most important step to stopping mice from entering.

2.  Place hardware cloth behind vents in the attic, roof, crawlspace and elsewhere.
3.   Penetrations around pipes, wires and conduit should be sealed.
4.   Seal gaps around window and door framing.
5.   Holes and cracks in foundation walls should also be sealed.
6.   Repair leaks before they attract pests to the structure.
7.  Keep a bare zone on the ground 18 inches from the foundation base.  That’s right, mulch is an issue.
8. Remove debris (boards and other clutter) lying on the ground close to buildings.
9.  Remind everyone to keep exterior doors closed.  Large stones, bricks or similar objects found near exterior doors indicate these are used to prop doors open and should be removed.

10.  Don’t open windows unless they are screened.

A good publication on “Lady Beetles Invading Homes” can be found at the following website:  https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP503-C.pdf  This publication contains excellent information about pest proofing your home in the fall prior to the insects invading your home.
For more information, call or come by the Extension office.