Summer’s allure brings a sense of peace, happiness, and tranquility. But this season also ushers in the dawn of pesky intruders–home bugs (or just bugs, you decide).
In Wisconsin, the hot summer weather gives rise to over 1000 insects, some of which may find their way into private homes and businesses.
When this happens, these uninvited guests can wreak havoc on homes and even spread life-threatening diseases.
This brings us to the next question: What are the most common bugs in Wisconsin?
Well, here’s a comprehensive list of the top insects you might encounter in this beautiful state. You will also learn some interesting facts about them. So, stick with us!
Meet The Bug Squad
Ants might seem small and fragile, but they can be a real pain for homeowners. These six-legged creatures usually venture inside homes in search of food and water. And if they find a home with sufficient resources, they can construct nests and establish a colony.
In most cases, ants rarely attack or bite humans unless they consider you a threat. But the biggest concern is not their bite, but rather their ability to contaminate food and water. Sometimes, these insects might expose you and your family to diseases.
Wisconsin is home to many types of ants, including:
- Carpenter ants: Usually brown, black, brown, or yellow, carpenter ants are tough foes. They can enter your home through several entry points, such as gaps and cracks in walls, window frames, and eaves. Like termites, carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage, especially to timber-framed buildings.
- Field ants: These ants feature a pale yellow or reddish-brown coloration. Unlike carpenter ants, field ants rarely venture indoors. However, if they find their way inside your house, they can threaten the structural integrity of your building.
- Pavement ants: As the name suggests, they infest pavements. But when they invade your home, they can live the walls, floor, and insulation.
How to Prevent Ant Infestation?
While there are several ways to keep these pests away from your home, expect to see one or two ants around. That said, here are a few ways to deter ants:
- Store firewood far away from your house (about 15ft away or more)
- Trim down tree branches close to your house exterior
- Clean food scraps and spills from floors and countertops
- Remove debris and damp wood from your backyard and garden
- Don’t place mulch against your home’s foundation
2. Bed bugs
Bed bugs are not the best pests to have in your house. These tinny, reddish-brown bugs can transform your peaceful life into a nightmare.
As the name implies, bedbug infestation occurs around where people sleep, including dorms, rooming houses, apartment shelters, etc.
Bedbugs are nocturnal, only coming out at night to feed on humans and other warm-blooded animals like your pets. During the day, they often hide in mattresses, headboards, box springs, crevices, cracks, or behind wallpapers.
So how do they enter your house?
Well, bedbugs are excellent hitchhikers and can travel with an unsuspecting host for a long distance. Usually, these blood-sucking bugs get introduced to homes through used bedding, clothing, and used furniture.
Although bed bugs rarely transmit diseases to humans, their bites can cause significant itching, scratching, and sleep loss. Sometimes, the bites can cause allergic reactions that might need medical attention.
How to Prevent Bed Bug Infestation?
- Avoid buying second-hand products like furniture from thrift stores and streets
- After traveling, clean and vacuum your suitcases
- Don’t leave clothes lying on the bed or furniture, especially in hotels
- It’s best to avoid sitting or resting on furniture that recently housed bedbugs
- In hotels, look for tiny black spots (bedbug fecal matter or blood) on the mattress, bed frame, and bedding
Mosquitoes are known to ruin late summer fun in Wisconsin. These bloodsuckers make it nearly impossible to venture outdoors in most areas of the state. And surprisingly, they can stay alive even when the temperatures drop below the freezing point.
Mosquitos are considered a nuisance by most homeowners because of their nasty bites. The bites can be itchy and leave bumps on the skin. The bites can also get very sore and inflamed, especially in children.
But that’s not even the worst part. Some types of mosquitoes transmit diseases through their bites, including Zika Virus and West Nile Virus. Other mosquito species carry parasites that cause malaria, yellow fever, and brain infections.
How to Prevent Mosquito Infestation?
- Fixing tears in the window and door screens
- Remove breeding grounds, including standing water near your house or in the yard
- Grow plants that repel mosquitoes naturally, like lavender, marigold, citronella, floss flower, and catnip
- Change water in pet drinking bowls, flowerpots, and bird baths regularly
- Ensure your water tank screen is intact and keeping mosquitos out
4. Boxelder Bugs
Besides mosquitoes, watch out for Boxelder Bugs. These insects are prevalent in Wisconsin during the fall through early spring.
During summer, they frequently feed on the various parts of boxelder and silver maple trees, such as flowers, leaves, and seedpods. They also damage apples, strawberries, grapes, and peaches.
Boxelder bugs pose no threat to humans. However, these tiny red-and-black insects can be a headache when they venture indoors to overwinter. Once inside, they can congregate in walls, attics, and warm basements, occasionally emerging into living rooms and bedrooms.
Besides that, they produce an offensive smell when disturbed or trampled. Also, their excrement can stain various surfaces in your house.
While these bugs are not known to bite, their piercing mouthparts can accidentally puncture your skin, causing itching and leaving a red spot.
How to Prevent Boxelder Bugs Infestation?
- Vacuum up boxelder bugs as soon as you notice them and throw out the vacuum cleaner bug immediately
- Seal cracks and gaps around doors and window frames, and foundation with caulk
- Inspect and replace poorly fitted electrical cover plates
- Cut and trim down boxelder trees, maple trees, or any other tree that can attract these pesky invaders
- Clean large surfaces using dish soap
5. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Stink bugs belong to the family Ropalidaethe like Boxelder bugs, cicadas, and other pests with piercing and sucking mouthparts.
Native to Asia, stink bugs first appeared in Wisconsin in 2010. Today, however, they are considered an invasive pest because they feed on vegetables, fruits, and other plants on farms and gardens.
The brown marmorated stink bugs are arguably the most common type of stink bug in Wisconsin, especially in the summer and spring months.
They often invade homes, barns, garages, and sheds in high numbers to overwinter, making it hard to eradicate them. Although they don’t bite humans, these insects often release a strong, unpleasant smell when provoked or killed.
Furthermore, they taste nasty and might cause drooling, vomiting, indigestion, or diarrhea when ingested by your favorite pet. Luckily, these symptoms have no lasting effect and often clear up within a few hours.
How to Prevent Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Infestation?
- Seal gaps, cracks, and crevices in walls, foundation, and along window and door frames with caulk
- Weatherstrip your entryways and install door and window screens
- Clear out edible plants and debris from your home’s foundation to keep the bugs away
- Screen or cap the top of your chimney to keep these pesky invaders out
Unmasking More Home Bugs in Wisconsin
Millipedes can be found in large numbers in and outside homes in late summer and fall. These multi-legged, hard-shelled, and segmented creatures feed mainly feed on decaying organic matter.
They prefer living in the soil, only coming out at night. But sometimes, thousands of millipedes can move from their habitats and accumulate around your home in the morning. They can congregate under flower pots, in cool dump areas like basements, garage floors, and cement stoops.
Interestingly, millipedes rarely live for more than 3 days indoors because of a lack of moisture. That means you can wait for them to die off and sweep or vacuum them.
But if you want to prevent them from coming inside, seal gaps around window and door frames. Also, eliminate moisture indoors by repairing leaky faucets and broken spouts. Additionally, remove organic matter like decaying leaves from the foundation because it can serve as the insect’s breeding site.
Besides millipedes, watch out for their dangerous cousins, the centipedes.
2. Home Invading Weevils
Several insects found indoors rarely breed inside, but fly or crawl in from the outdoors. In Wisconsin, several species of weevils can sneak inside buildings during summer and fall. These species include:
- Woodland weevils
- European snout weevil
- Imported long-horned weevil
- Black vine weevil
- Strawberry root weevil
While these bugs don’t bite, they invade homes in large numbers, which can frustrate homeowners and individuals living in rented apartments. Fortunately, you can keep them out by sealing, blocking, or screening potential entry points.
3. Multicolored Asian Lady Bug Beetles
Also known as lady beetles, the multicolored Asian lady bugs stand out for their “M” or “W” marking on their pronotum or shield that protects their head. Most lady beetles rock red-and-black spots, but some come in shades of orange and tan too.
Like stink bugs and weevils, these insects are a nuisance because they invade homes in large numbers. In autumn, lady beetles crawl inside homes and business buildings in search of a warm place to protect themselves from the winter weather.
They can gain access to your homes via cracks and gaps around doors and windows and other openings they can fit through.
Getting rid of these intruders can prove to be an overwhelming task. Even worse, they secrete a potent yellow liquid that can stain various surfaces in your home. So, it’s best to deal with them at the first sign before they become a major problem.
Additional Pests in Wisconsin
- Cockroaches – American cockroach, German cockroach, and Oriental cockroach
- Flies – House flies, fruit flies, and blow (bottle) Flies
- Biting insects- Fleas and ticks
- Rodents–Mice, rats, meadow voles, squirrels, raccoons, deer mice, etc.
- Pantry pests- Clothes moth, bean weevils, and dried fruit beetles
- Spiders–Black widows, cellar spiders, daddy longlegs, and brown recluse
- Stinging Insects–Yellow jackets, paper wasps, honeybees, and bumble bees
Without a doubt, Wisconsin is home to a wide selection of insects and wildlife, including centipedes, beetles, weevils, mice, and wasps. While some creatures are harmless, others can pose serious health risks and cause significant damage to homes.
Because of this, you need to implement effective preventive measures to keep these unwelcomed visitors away. These could include sealing gaps and cracks in walls and foundations, screening, and using insecticides.
If you’re dealing with an infestation, it’s best to seek help from highly skilled exterminators. These professionals will identify the cause of the infestation and eliminate the pesky pests, leaving your home bug-free.
Now that we’ve covered bugs to watch out for, you may want to know which garden insects to protect and build a home for. Check out this article and learn how to build a bug hotel in your garden!
That’s all for today. If you have any questions, hit us in the comment section!