Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spiders, Earwigs and Centipedes, Oh My!

When we moved into our new house just over a year ago, we noticed some bugs. The house came with .6 acres of land and lots of trees and vegetation, so we figured the few bugs might have been a trade-off of moving to the suburbs. Our previous place was a 2nd floor condo in a 4-unit building with asphalt covering all land surfaces. The bugs varied from spiders, to earwigs, to centipedes. The earwig freaked me out---not an easy to do. But, some searching revealed that they were harmless. Harmless or not, neither of us wanted to share our house with bugs, so I began searching for solutions. At first, it got worse, from a bug every few days, to multiple bugs each day. At some point, we had a bit of an ant invasion even though we keep our house clean. Ack! What had we gotten ourselves into!

We tried bug sprays, ant traps and ultrasonics. All of them helped, but didn't really solve the problem. The summer after we bought the house, I invested in a basic pump sprayer for an outdoor caterpillar repellent. Later when I was searching for bug sprays, I noticed Ortho Home Defense Concentrate which works with my pump sprayer. I used two gallons of dilute to spray my foundation, the perimeter of my deck and, especially, the area between my foundation and house frame (under the shingles) where I figured the bugs were entering. Not long after the concentrate spraying, I did a half-application of Scotts summer fertilizer with insect control.

I'm not sure which of the two things did the trick, the concentrate spray or the fertilizer, but not long after those, we saw a decrease in bugs that has continued to this day. This time last year, we were squashing bugs every day. Now, they are few and far between. Another factor may have been the cellulose we had blown into walls which would have made it a little more challenging for the critters to get inside, but the drop-off seemed strongly correlated-in-time with the concentrate and fertilizer, so I'll be using those in the future.

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