Wasps are one pest just about every homeowner has to deal with sooner or later. The magic bullet for getting rid of wasps (yellow jackets)
and bees is to destroy their nest. This is easier said
than done. Bees and wasps are notorious for hiding
their nests inside walls or high under shingles and eaves, where
they're difficult to get at.
The trick to finding the nest is to observe their movements
closely. You'll soon spot where they zoom into the wall of your
house. Once you locate the nest, spray it with an insecticide
that's formulated for killing bees and wasps. Pick one up at a
hardware store or nursery. The best time to spray is at night
when the bees are less active and inside the nest.
Be aware that these insects can be extremely aggressive, especially
when their home is under attack. Some can sting repeatedly,
and those stings can cause severe reactions if you're allergic. If
you're on a ladder or on the roof, the last thing you
want is an angry storm of bees coming after you!
In difficult situations, have the nest professionally
removed. If you decide to spray
the nest yourself, make sure to wear
protective clothing, including
face protection, to guard
Woodpeckers can attack wooden shingles on a house for no apparent reason. Left unchecked, they will soon put a hole in your roof or siding. The first thing to know is what you can't do. The
Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as well as some state
laws, protects woodpeckers, which means it's unlawful
to harm them. (So don't go for the pellet gun!)
The woodpeckers are making holes in your shingles because
either they're looking for food, or more likely, “drumming” to
mark their territory. Unfortunately, there's no simple way to get
rid of them. Your best option is to harass the birds into leaving.
First, fasten sheet metal over the areas the birds are pecking.
Also hang mirrors and Mylar tape nearby, for example, from the
fascia (or tuck it under the next row of shingles). Shiny lights
and reflections sometimes scare woodpeckers away, as do owl
decoys. Frankly, however, these remedies don't always work, and
the longer the woodpeckers have been at your house, the harder
it will be to get them to leave.
To further harass the birds,
shoo them away with a
broom. If you're persistent,
the birds will
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The fall is when flies will congregate swarm around the upper windows of your house where the sun is strongest. They are not looking for something to eat, just a warm place to spend the winter. The good news is the flies probably
aren't attracted to a dead animal
in your house. If they were, they
would disappear after a few days. You
probably have cluster flies. They're
about 5/16 in. long and have yellow
hairs on their abdomens.
Cluster flies, also known as attic flies,
are attracted to light and warmth. They
gravitate to second-floor windows,
which are usually the warmest spots in
the house. The flies breed outside in the
ground during late spring and early
summer and have a life span of 27 to 39
days. In the fall, they find a way indoors
through small cracks around doors,
windows, soffits and siding.
The best time to stop cluster flies is
before they come indoors. Caulk cracks
around the foundation, siding, exterior
trim and other potential entry points.
Replace weather stripping as necessary
to seal around doors and windows. If
that doesn't work, spray an insecticide
formulated for flies around the outside
of your doors and windows, soffits,
eaves and cracks in the siding.
If large numbers still come in, an
insecticide suitable for use indoors is
the only effective way to eradicate
them. Or call a professional exterminator
to handle the problem.