Let’s start off with the question everyone is probably wondering: What is an “occasional invader”???

This term is just a simple way to group a variety of pests that are known to occupy your home when outside weather conditions become hostile to their survival. In Maryland and Northern Virginia, these pests generally include:

  • Boxelder bugs
  • Centipedes
  • Crickets
  • Earwigs
  • Ladybugs
  • Millipedes
  • Pillbugs
  • Silverfish
  • Slugs
  • Springtails
  • Stink bugs

During this time of year we start to receive a lot of questions about these pests and their activity. Here are the most frequently asked questions about occasional fall invaders.

Why do I seem to see more pests in my home in the fall?

Occasional invaders are active year-round and spend most of their time outdoors. However, homeowners tend to notice them more frequently inside during the fall season because they are searching for a new, warm, safe home for the winter season.

What issues do occasional invaders pose?

Although occasional invaders may enter your home in large numbers, they are usually harmless, nothing more than a nuisance.

There are a few specific pests that can cause non-health-related problems:

  • Stink bugs are harmful to the agricultural industry because they destroy crops
  • Boxelder bugs and ladybugs may exude a defensive fluid when crushed that could stain curtains, drapes, clothing, and other fabrics
  • Silverfish infest paper, particularly wallpaper, books, and envelopes, so these materials could become damaged over time.

How can I prevent an occasional invader invasion?

There are a variety of things you can do to prevent occasional invaders from intruding your home:


  1. Seal cracks around windows, doors, siding, and pipes
  2. Repair or replace damaged screens on doors and windows
  3. Reduce moisture sites and properly ventilate
  4. Remove debris, such as mulch, leaves, grass clippings, stones and boards, from the outside of your home
  5. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground
  6. Change outdoor lighting to yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lamps, both of which are less attractive to pests

What's the best way to get rid of occasional invaders?

Spotting a stink bug on the wall or a centipede crawling on the floor is common.

The best way to remove these types of pests from your home is with a vacuum cleaner.

However, if you experience an influx of occasional invaders around your home, contact a licensed pest professional to properly treat the problem (hint, hint, US!)

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