Like all living things, insects are constantly searching for food, water and shelter, so it’s likely many of them will try to come indoors during the winter months, said Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist, Travis County.
Brown said two of the most unwanted insect pests — scorpions and cockroaches — are among those insects likely to try and enter the home during cold weather.
“While Texas has 18 scorpion species, the striped bark scorpion, which is yellowish-tan with two dark stripes running parallel along its back, is the most common in South Central Texas,” she said.
Brown said the two outdoor species of cockroach “most likely to make people panic” should they get inside the house are the smoky brown and American cockroach.
Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Bexar County, said South Central Texas residents should also expect visits from black crazy ants as the temperature drops.
Both entomologists said the best way to keep these pests outdoors is by exclusion. Keck said black crazy ants don’t typically respond to ant baits, so the best means of exclusion is an insecticide barrier, preferably a long-lasting insecticide gel labeled for them, along any threshold where they seem to be entering the home.
The entomologists also provided the following tips to help exclude these and other pests from the home:
- Keep debris and firewood away from the house.
- Prune any trees or shrubs touching or hanging over the house.
- Keep grass near or touching the house closely mowed.
- Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows as necessary.
- Fill weep holes in stone, brick or stucco homes with steel wool, copper mesh or screen wire.
- Seal cracks, crevices and areas of pipe penetration in exterior walls with sealant.
- Keep window screens in good repair and make sure they fit tightly into the window frame.
- Treat the foundation of the home with a pesticide with ingredients such as permethrin, cypermethrin or deltamethrin.
- Apply pesticides around doors, windows, eaves and other potential points of entry. Indoor treatments should be directed at potential points of entry as well as corners, cracks and crevices. Follow label directions for dosage, mixing and application methods.
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