Dealing with nuisance insects

The key to dealing with nuisance insect pests is to block their access and remove their food source. In general, that means cleaning up around the home and sealing cracks and holes in the exterior of the home. One solution is use of a home barrier spray.

“You apply it every spring around windows and doors and even roof eaves,” said Billy Moon at Nydam’s Ace Hardware in John Day. “It will deal with stink bugs, those beetles that are common around here.”

The latest in insect control is the Bug-A-Salt 2.0. Resembling a Supersoaker in design but loaded with common table salt instead of water, the Bug-A-Salt turns insect hunting into a sport with a shotgun effect.


Ants enter homes through window and door frames or pipe and wiring chases. Homeowners should trim outdoor plantings away from the structure and keep landscaping materials such as compost or bark mulch away from siding. Pesticide baits provide a good way to deal with ants already in the structure.

Baits may require several weeks to be effective. Over-the-counter pesticide sprays may cause ants to scatter throughout a home, and carpenter ants may not respond well to baits, so a licensed pest control professional may be needed.

Wasps, yellowjackets and hornets

Wasps, yellowjackets and hornets can enter a structure through cracks and holes in the siding. Otherwise, their nests will be visible attached to exterior siding, typically high up under an eave.

Wasps, yellowjackets and hornets are less active in the evening and early morning, when the air is cool and they usually return to their nests. That’s the best time for homeowners to hit the nests with a pesticide formulated for wasp nests contained in a high-pressure can that can spray for 20 feet or more.

Homeowners are advised not to treat nests with any household chemicals or common fuels, such as bleach, gasoline, or diesel, as these products are more toxic than most labeled pesticides.


Tick habitat near homes can be reduced by keeping grass and weeds well trimmed. To estimate tick populations, drag a white cloth through vegetation and count the ticks that readily appear attached to the cloth.

Ticks that live off deer mice carry Lyme disease. Adult Rocky Mountain wood ticks live off larger mammals, including sheep and deer. Ticks attached to humans or pets should be removed quickly.

Repellents containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) are effective against ticks. Around the home, tick populations can be reduced by using residual insecticides.


Flies and mosquitoes will enter homes through open unscreened windows or doors — or holes in screens. Food sources and breeding areas can be reduced by keeping garbage cans sealed, removing animal refuse and eliminating outdoor objects that can hold small pools of water, such as tires, pails and tarps.

Where fly populations are high, properly located fly traps can be effective both indoors and outdoors. An outward-blowing fan placed near an open window or door can lessen the number of flies entering at that location.


Silverfish are wingless insects less than half an inch long with two long antennae and three long filaments at the tail and are commonly seen in homes with wood-shake roofs. They prefer warmer locations, such as attics, but are associated with damp conditions found in basements and bathrooms.

Reducing humidity can help eliminate silverfish. Household insecticides are effective if an infestation is not manageable by other means.


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