Spring is finally here, but unfortunately so are the pests!
While doing your spring cleaning or staying indoors due to our recent rain, you may have noticed some insects and spiders have moved in with you. Many pests are emerging from their winter rest, and taking cover from the cool, wet weather.
If you've found tiny brown, white, and black patterned beetles on windowsills, curtains, or walls near entryways, they may be carpet beetles. Adult beetles are about 1/10 inch and feed on pollen and nectar from flowers like crape myrtle and spirea. They can be brought indoors on cut flowers or they may fly in from nearby plants outside. A few adult beetles inside your home are typically not a problem. However, be on the lookout for their larvae or signs of their damage. Carpet beetle larvae feed on natural fibers such as wool, silk, leather, fur, and pet hair. They can damage rugs and carpets, yarn, clothing, and leather book bindings. Larvae will not feed on synthetic fibers like polyester. You can reduce sources of food for larvae by cleaning up lint, hair, dead insects, or debris. Adults can be relocated to the outdoors, but larvae are more difficult to control. See Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for management strategies.
Spiders often end up inside while looking for food and if the right conditions are present–dark, dusty, hidden areas–they may stay a while. Some people may not mind the occasional spider, as they feed on other pests like flies, moths, and beetles. It is uncommon for most California spiders to bite you, contrary to what many people think. This includes the brown recluse spider, which does not exist in California. To identify the various spiders you might come across, see the Pest Notes: Spiders.
There are many other household pests you might encounter now and throughout the year. Fortunately, UC IPM has tons of great information on what they are and how to control them! See Pests of homes, structures, people, and pets for more information, or watch UC IPM's webinar recording on Springtime Household Pests.
- Author: Elaine Lander
As the weather warms up, we see more insect activity in gardens and landscapes, and you may also notice more activity of insect pests in your home. Common insect pests found indoors in springtime can include carpet beetles, fleas, fungus gnats, and boxelder bugs.
In our recent post on carpet beetles, we shared that the adults of these beetles prefer to be outdoors but the immature larvae can feed on fabric, carpet, or other natural materials in your home. See our Pest Notes: Carpet Beetles for more management information.
Cat fleas are the most common parasite on cats and dogs in California and you may find more fleas on your pets in spring and early summer. More than just a nuisance, fleas can transmit tapeworms or other diseases to pets or humans. Our Pest Notes: Fleas has more information on managing fleas.
If you have indoor plants, fungus gnats that infest soil and potting mix can be a nuisance. These small, delicate-looking flies are similar in appearance to mosquitoes but are smaller and do not bite. Instead, fungus gnats feed on fungi and organic material but can also chew roots of houseplants. You can find more information on these flies in Pest Notes: Fungus Gnats. You may also find our Pest Notes: Houseplant Problems helpful.
While boxelder bugs tend to group together outdoors, they occasionally come indoors and may be annoying. The adult females lay eggs in cracks and crevices of the box elder tree's bark in spring so you may be seeing more of these black and red bugs if you have host trees like box elder, maple, ash, apple, cherry, peach, pear, or plum. Learn more about these pests and their look-alikes in Pest Notes: Boxelder Bug.
Looking for more management information for springtime insect pests in the home? Join us for our upcoming webinar on Thursday, May 20 at 1:00pm with Dr. Andrew Sutherland, Area Urban IPM Advisor for the San Francisco Bay Area. Click here to register for our upcoming webinar and see the webinar website for more information about our webinar series.
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[From the May 2017 issue of the UC IPM Retail Newsletter]
As part of this effort, UC IPM partnered with several UC Cooperative Extension Advisors and Specialists to offer three regional train-the trainer workshops in 2016 and early 2017. A total of 188 participants from 41 retail stores in 23 counties attended the workshops. Attendees participated in hands-on learning and discussions on the topics:
- identifying and reducing the spread of the invasive Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease (ACP and HLB);
- household pests such as cockroaches and ants;
- integrated pest management and understanding pesticides and labels;
- exotic and invasive pests found in California.
Resources from UC IPM
UC IPM plans to offer future workshops on vertebrate pest identification and management tools, new tools and resources, and other emerging pests and topics. Keep an eye out for announcements about upcoming workshops. Subscribe to the Retail IPM Newsletter and follow UC IPM on social media!