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Droughts may bring more fall bugs, experts say

Why you may see more bugs in your home this fall
Why you may see more bugs in your home this fall 01:58

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's that time of year when bugs and pests take over your living space. You may be seeing more of them this year, and it's believed it may be due to our drought.

Yellowjackets, boxelders and more are beginning to invade Minnesota homes.

It's a seemingly unavoidable, unenjoyable fall tradition.

Lets first talk about wasps.

"We're getting to the time of the year where food is getting kind of in short supply for really big wasps nests and they get a little grumpy this time of year, so a lot of the time they can get a little aggressive in trying to find food," said Shane Bugeja with University of Minnesota Extension.

As far as boxelders...

"I can see a boxelder bug right outside my window here in Le Center, so they're definitely looking scouting out areas where they can hibernate," said Bugeja.

It's the time of year when boxelders are looking for places to spend the winter.

Historically, Bugeja said, there seems to be more boxelders and yellowjackets during years of drought.

So bad some years, a 1935 University of Minnesota document referred to boxelders as a "plague rather than a pest."

But the correlation between pest and drought has never been thoroughly studied, Bugeja says.

"If I have a bunch of money, I'll do an experiment for it," he said.

"They tend to like these warm dry summers, helps them reproduce. We do expect a high population come fall," said Matt Ferguson, General Manager for Rainbow Pest Experts.

For pest prevention, Ferguson said there are a few things you can do.

"Just making sure if you have any leaks, specifically around the outside of the house so your gutters aren't clogged, your downspouts are down, water's flowing away from the house, even a dehumidifier in the basement can help," said Ferguson.

Ferguson also said to check for cracks in screens and vents, check the weather stripping at the bottom of your doors and to clear window wells of debris.

If you have a wood burning fireplace, keep the wood outdoors, because the wood can bring in pests.

Outdoor, white light can also attract bugs from a distance. Shifting your lights to red or yellow can help, Ferguson said.

In the end, Bugeja said it's about co-existing.

"We live in Minnesota," said Bugeja. "It's just one of those things where we're going to have to interact with the environment quite a bit an insects are part of that."

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