These are the pests that bug you each season

Expert offers tips to keep them from pestering you

Those insects that buzz around your head change throughout the year – some are just looking for a place to survive the winter cold, while others are looking to use you as their next meal.

Here’s a list of the bugs that could be pestering you or creeping through your home for each of the seasons.

Fall/Winter

Russell Howard, an entomologist at Michigan State University, said that most of the bugs that you’ll find in the home during the winter are just trying to stay warm.

"They explore cracks and crevices around homes, and if there’s a way into the walls, they will find their way into the walls, and, possibly, you’ll get to enjoy their company all winter long," Howard said.

Some of these bugs include:

  • Stinkbugs
  • Some types of beetles
  • Roaches

Most of the winter-type insects don’t reproduce during the season. However, roaches are the main exception. While you may notice more roaches in your home during the winter, Howard said they’re really an ongoing pest.

"If there’s adequate food for them in the home, if they can find it, then they’ll go ahead and reproduce and produce more cockroaches," Howard said.

Spring

Budding plants and warming temperatures lead to all sorts of creepy-crawlies scurrying around, Howard said. Most of these bugs are searching for food and water as they become more active.

These bugs include:

  • Ants
  • Flies
  • Spiders
  • Caterpillars

Howard said that ants usually head inside because they’re more active than their usual prey during this time of the year. 

"They’re looking for an easy meal and a lot of times they can find that indoors," Howard said.

According to Howard, flies develop faster as temperatures warm. He said that at temperatures of 85 degrees or higher, flies can produce a generation in as little as a week to 10 days.

Spiders become more common in the spring as they have a bounty of insects to eat. Howard said keeping outdoor lights on all night will attract the bugs that spiders eat.

"Maybe changing that light to either yellow or something like that, would not attract as many bugs as what white light would," Howard said.

Caterpillars love all the new, green leaves that are plentiful in the spring. Howard said that most caterpillars don’t occur in large enough numbers to be a problem for most people, but some turn into flying insects that have hairs to which some people are allergic.

Summer

According to Howard, summer is when you have to watch for those parasitic insects — the ones that look to feed off of you, your kids and your pets.

These include:

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mosquitoes

All of these bugs like to feast on the blood of their unwitting hosts and can transmit disease. 

Ticks can spread illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some people can develop an allergy to red meat after being bitten by certain types of ticks.

"They’re very sneaky," Howard said.

Mosquitoes, by far, are one of the most deadly insects in the world, according to Howard. They transmit diseases like malaria, Dengue fever, Zika virus and West Nile virus. They also can inject dogs with a roundworm that becomes heartworms.

"Mosquitoes are probably the most medically important of all the insects," Howard said. "They kill more people worldwide than any other group of insects."

Controlling bugs

According to Howard, controlling insects around your home is all about screens and doors. He said people should make sure that all of their screens and doors are fit properly so there are no gaps. That will help cut down on the number of bugs that make it inside.

As mentioned above, outdoor lights attract a ton of insects which attracts the things that eat them. Howard said changing the bulbs in your outdoor lights to something besides white can help cut down on the number of bugs that are attracted to it.

According to Howard, mosquitoes use standing water as their breeding ground. So, eliminate the standing water on your property. This includes things like birdbaths, unfiltered swimming pools, tires and buckets. He said homeowners can also buy their own mosquito sprayer to fog their property if needed.

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