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Some insect pests invade homes in order to seek out human food sources. For example, numerous ant species feed on sweet-tasting plant nectar, so it is not surprising that many ant pests invade homes in search of sugar-rich human foods. Ants, and many other insects, seek out human food sources when their natural outdoor food sources become scarce during the fall and winter seasons. Although not technically insects, many spider species and house centipedes will invade homes in search of their insect prey, as insects can be easier to locate indoors than outdoors in some cases, especially during the fall when insect populations dwindle in the natural environment. In northern regions that see hot summers and cold winters, many insect species invade homes in order to secure warm shelter during the winter. It is not uncommon for certain insect pests to successfully overwinter indoors before returning to their natural habitat come spring. Several insect pest species of this sort are abundant in the northeast where they invade homes in massive numbers during the fall. The most common insect pests in the northeast that attempt to overwinter within homes include western conifer seed bugs, boxelder bugs, Asian lady beetles and brown marmorated stink bugs.

Several years ago, an entomologist recovered 1,605 western conifer seed bugs from an infested structure, and an additional 1,000 dead specimens covered the floors. Another entomologist documented a home infestation that turned up 8,000 boxelder bugs. A whopping 6,000 swallow bugs were found in one large congregation on the interior walls of a home, and chinch bugs often overwinter in homes where as many as 200 specimens have been found grouped into clusters. According to one study, all of the above mentioned insect pests invade homes in groups due to the aggregation pheromones that the insects emit to attract other specimens to potential nesting sites. Asian lady beetles often invade homes in the northeast in the hundreds and even thousands, and invasive brown marmorated stink bugs have become nuisance indoor pests since they were discovered in the US during the late 1990s. In fact, one documented invasive stink bug infestation turned up more than 26,000 specimens within one single home. Insect pests that overwinter in homes can be difficult to eradicate, as they tend to dwell in wall voids and beneath baseboards where they cannot be readily detected.

Have you ever experienced a nuisance infestation of at least one of the insect pest species mentioned in the article?