Watching a trail of these little guys might mean you accidentally left out some food or haven’t swept the floors in a while but getting rid of them once they arrive can be challenging. You could go the traditional route and purchase ant traps; however, buy with caution, because not all traps are universal. There are eco-friendly and non-toxic ways to repel them. If you see an anthill outside, you can pour boiling water into the colony. This is a humane and instantaneous way to solve your ant problem. Cinnamon or cinnamon leaf essential oil is a proven-home-remedy to repel ants. Sprinkle a little in the cracks of the walls, or if you can trace the trail then put a little around the point of entry to keep them out. Coffee grounds work similarly to cinnamon, but keeping your home clean is the most effective way to prevent ants.
These amazing pollinators and saviors of the environment should be kept alive, if possible. Grab a cup or a glass and a piece of paper to trap them. Place the cup over them confining them against the wall and slide the piece of paper under the cup to keep them trapped while you transport them back outside so they can help trees and flowers grow. If you are afraid of them, just remember they are just as scared of you as you are of them. Opening a window and letting them find their own way out or coaxing them towards the opening with a piece of paper will get them back outside. Remember, honeybees generally only sting when they think there is a threat to their hive. When out collecting pollen, they rarely sting.
These creepy looking fellas have a very intimidating pinchers on their rears called forceps and long antennas on their front that make them look larger than they really are. Earwigs eat plants and other bugs. So, if you have other bugs crawling around in your home, you may also have earwigs. As omnivores they also eat plants, such as leaves and mold. If you have not cleaned your bathroom or kitchen in a while, then wiping it down and paying special attention to those hard-to-reach places might prevent them from showing up. If you have cracks in the walls, seal them, and weather sealing doors and windows will further bolster your defenses. If you are bitten by one, do not worry, they are not infectious. For these guys, a flyswatter might be the best course of action. If you can, a piece of paper and cup will also work as they are good for the environment. They eat the stuff other bugs don’t want and help it become enriched soil, kind-of like worms. These tactics will also work on centipedes.
Like earwigs, spiders also eat bugs. If you see them, then they are probably eating the other creepy crawlies that are roaming your home. Sealing cracks in walls, and weather sealing your doors and windows will keep these guys out, and regularly dusting to get their webs will make your home less hospitable. If they can’t keep their webs up, they will find a new place to weave their traps. Look out for round or oblong sacks in the webs because those are egg sacks. You can put them outside or throw them in a sealed container and put them in the trash so if they hatch, you won’t have hundreds of baby spiders pouring out into your home. Sometimes they lay multiple sacks, so if you find one there may be others. Most spiders in Wisconsin are not poisonous, so do not fret if one bites you. The only poisonous spiders here are the brown recluse, and the northern black widow. We all know what a black widow looks like with the iconic red hourglass on its thorax, but the brown recluse is a little more subtle. When this spider is seen, it is typically from being transported on a food truck or some shipping container. So, make sure to look over your produce for spiders.
There are pesticides that prevent ladybugs, but some might harm other insects that you want around, so be careful and do your research before buying one for your garden. You can plant mums or use diatomaceous earth which is a type of silica soil used as a natural pesticide. If they are in your house cloves and bay leaves deter ladybugs similarly to how cinnamon deters ants. If you have seen A Bug’s Life, you have witnessed how effective light traps are to preventing bus from entering your home. Hang one up and they will fly into the trap before making it inside. If they are inside, then letting them back outside is beneficial because they eat other bugs that are damaging to crops. Be careful, the Asian Lady Beetle is an invasive species that look very similar to the American Ladybug. These invade your home more often than ladybugs. They can be told apart by a white “M” on their head. If you see this, then it is not a ladybug and can be squished. They can be harmful to your pets, expel a awful-smelling odor and might bite you. These are not helpful to the Wisconsin eco-system and is not a catch and release bug.
While not as common as earwigs and ants, sometimes stink bugs find their way inside. This is typically because of changes in season, when they are looking for shelter in colder weather, and may cram by the thousands in small dark spaces. During the winter they may explore and love warm spaces, so you might find yourself with a shower buddy in the morning. If you find some, you can use this to your advantage by filling a pan with hot or boiled water and soap, then let them crawl in. However, prevention is the best way to keep them out. Weather seal doors and windows and fill the cracks in the walls. You can also spray windows and doors with essential oil sprays. Mint essential oil diluted with water will deter the stink bugs. If the invasion has already begun, look for a place they might be hiding and vacuum them up. This only works with a vacuum with a disposable bag because you will want to seal it and throw it in a dumpster immediately.