Tips for Preventing and Treating Cluster Flies

In late Fall and early Winter many homeowners notice large flies gathering in warm windows, in attics and loft spaces. These flies are called Cluster Flies. During Winter, Cluster Flies hibernate indoors where it is warm. You will often find them “clustered” in groups on the warm sides of your home. Jackie Davis from Cottage Life states, “Cluster flies don’t feed, breed, or lay eggs inside, so if you do nothing, they’ll either leave on their own, or die”. Really, they are just a nuisance, with their loud buzzing and the feeling of unease created by having creepy crawlies on your ceiling. Here are a couple ways to keep your home Cluster Fly free this Winter.

Close all cracks and crevices on your home

The first and best defense against Cluster Flies is to keep them from coming into your home. Cluster Flies are attracted to the warmth of a heated space and usually enter homes through small cracks and crevices. Make sure to seal up all these areas around your home including windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys and under fascia with good quality caulking. Make sure to do this well before cool temperatures arrive.

Patch or replace all window and door screens

Torn window and door screens are a easy way for Cluster Flies to enter your home. Patch or replace these before cool temperatures arrive.

Use a fly swatter or vacuum

If Cluster Flies do get into your home, and on warmer days find their way out of hibernation you will notice their sluggish buzzing around your house.  If they become bothersome, the simple use of a fly swatter can remedy the problem.

A vacuum is also an option if they are clustering in accessible windows or ceilings.

Do not use insecticides

FightBugs.com states that timing of insecticide sprays for Cluster Flies is crucial. Too early and the insecticide gets broken down by the sun and does not effect the flies, too late and the flies are already in your house. In addition, insecticides must be sprayed every year. We do not recommend spraying insecticides on the interior or exterior of your house.  The danger to you and your family far outweighs the benefits. We also do not recommend using an insecticide powder to kill flies where they cluster, this will cause the flies to die in your walls which could then attract Carpet Beetles. Carpet Beetles then feed on the dead flies and can wreak havoc on woolens, dry goods and other natural items in your home.

Practicing preventative tactics is really the best way to deal with Cluster Flies, if they can’t get in, they can’t bother you.  It may take several years of regularly sealing cracks to eliminate Cluster Flies, but in the end your work will pay off.

Reference sites:

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/cluster-flies

http://www.orkin.com/flies/cluster-flies/

http://cottagelife.com/environment/how-to-get-rid-of-cluster-flies

http://www.fightbugs.com/get-rid-cluster-flies/

Tips for Preventing and Treating Ladybug Infestations

In the Fall, many homeowners experience an overwhelming onset of Ladybugs in their homes. Ladybugs are particularly attracted to homes in wooded areas, homes with natural wood siding that is warmed by the sun, homes with lots of cracks and crevices and are often attracted to light colored areas on homes.  It is thought that the reason they gravitate towards lighter colored surfaces is that those areas mimic their native habitat where they hibernate in sun-warmed limestone cliffs.  There are many options for helping to prevent and treat ladybug issues, check out our recommendations below.

Prevention

Seal all Cracks, Gaps and Crevices

  • Ladybugs enter homes through small cracks and crevices all over the house. Be sure to seal up all cracks around windows, doors, pipes, clap boards and other utility lines that enter the house before the Fall season approaches.
  • Replace mortar and weatherstripping around basement foundation and windows.
  • Repair or replace broken screens on windows and doors.

Spray a Repellent

  • Ladybugs do not like citronella or the smell of mint.
  • Combine peppermint essential oil with water and spray around the areas Ladybugs gather.
  • For exterior areas where they may be entering, spray plant oil based repellent like NBS 30 around entry points to help discourage them.

Set Up a Ladybug House

  • Provide the Ladybugs with another location to over winter that is safe and warm but outside your home by providing them with a Ladybug House.

Plant Mums

  • Mums are a late blooming Fall flower that repel ladybugs. Plant mums around your house, on decks and in window boxes.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

  • Diatomaceous earth is a soft, crumbly, porous sedimentary deposit formed from the fossil remains of single celled algae. Spreading food grade diatomaceous earth around your house, awnings, window seals, etc will often keep Ladybugs away. The substance gets stuck to the Ladybug’s legs, making it unpleasant for them to walk through.

Treatment of Existing Infestations

Ladybugs  are harmless, though they can be a nuisance and often make people uncomfortable. Ladybugs do not eat household items and do not lay eggs while hibernating in the home. Ladybugs will however excrete a stinky yellow substance, (which is actually their blood) when they sense danger, this substance has been known to stain light color objects.  That being said, here are some methods to deal with an existing infestation:

Make an In-Home Repellent Spray

  • Ladybugs don’t like the smell of camphor menthol, citrus or clove scents. Use a couple drops of one of these essential oils mixed with water in a spray bottle and spray in areas where the ladybugs are congregating. Often, they will leave the premises.

Vacuum with Hose Attachment or Shop Vac

  • Ladybugs will often survive vacuuming. To do this humanely as possible, place an old sock on the end of the vacuum nozzle with a rubber band. The suction will pull the ladybugs into the sock and then you can easily transport them outside away from your home.

Caution: Use of topical insecticides or bug bombs on the exterior or interior of your home exposes children, pets and yourself to potentially harmful substances. For everyone’s safety, it is best to stick with sustainable methods of dealing with ladybugs.

Often several seasons of treatment may be necessary to rid your home of Ladybugs but your efforts will usually pay off over time.

Do you have a successful way of preventing Ladybugs? Share your story in the comments section below.

Reference Sites:

http://www.ladybuglady.com/infestation.htm

http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-deal-with-ladybug-infestation/

http://household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com/2010/08/ladybug_infestation.php

http://www.orkin.com/other/beetles/ladybugs-asian-lady-beetles/