Examining steps you can take to protect against unwanted fall bugs and lawn features

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fall brings many enjoyable changes to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. Bugs, ant hills, and mushrooms may not top your list.

Fall typically brings an increase in no see-um bugs, which are small bugs that are difficult to notice until they bite or sting, says Bill Horan, the Purdue University Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Wells County. The Minute Pirate Bug and the Insidious Flower Bug are the most common breeds found in the fall. They eat other insects and use their piercing mouth to poke people, which can lead to a burning sensation.

Humans are more likely to come in contact with these bugs during this time of the year, as the bugs fly around and enter into neighborhoods. Horan says this is due to the harvesting and drying out of fields where they are typically found.

These bugs are not dangerous, as they do not spread diseases. They are more of an annoyance, as it feels like a burnt matchstick being placed on your skin.

Horan says the population of the insects vary depending on localized vegetation, temperatures, and moisture. In any given year, these factors can cause swings in the numbers, especially when extremes are recorded during the mating season.

Other fall bugs like to enter into homes before the winter.

The Asian Ladybug tends to congregate on the side of a building during warm weather and they can find their way into cracks and crevices to hibernate indoors, Horan says. The Boxelder Bug and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug also tend to move indoors during the season. Baseboards, outlets, and vents are common places where bugs can come in.

Horan says this is the time of the year where you want to conduct maintenance on your home to prevent bugs from coming indoors. You want to conduct maintenance around screens, window frames, and doorsills. You may also want to do a perimeter spray around the outside of your house with a pesticide.

Out on the lawn, ant hills have been seen in localized places. Mushrooms have also been common as a result of the moisture conditions being right this fall. Horan says bacteria will breakdown the organic material in the soil and allow mushrooms to form. This is a normal process and you can mow over them. It is not recommended to treat them differently, but an aeration of your lawn, which is recommended for the fall, can help.

Horan stresses the importance of fall lawncare, including fertilization and aeration. This supports the root system through the winter and controls weeds. It is not too late for pesticide treatment, as the first frost has not yet occurred.

If you would like to learn more, contact the Purdue Allen County Extension Office through its website.

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