The Creepy Crawlies of Fall

October 31, 2013
by Michael Barber
The Creepy Crawlies of Fall

When the cool fall air arrives, some bugs and insects seek the warmth inside homes or hide in dark spaces like basements, attics, and garages. Which of these creepy crawlies should watch out for, and what's the best way to get rid of them?

Related: Take a Hike! (And Do It Safely)

Speedy Spiders

The Columbia County News Times says one of the reasons we notice spiders more in the fall is that during the spring and summer they have been eating, feasting, and growing larger. They also prefer to find nooks and crannies to hide in to stay warm like under porches, lattices, and porch overhangs. They also seek out places to nest for the winter to lay next year's generation of eggs.

Only the brown recluse and black widow spiders are poisonous to humans and if bitten, people need to head immediately to an urgent care center for proper treatment. There is an anti-venom for the black widow bite but the brown recluse bite can cause tissue loss and there is no anti-venom. Other spiders like hobo spiders, mouse spiders, and black house spiders also pack a strong bite and cause pain around the bite. They also cause other symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, and flu symptoms.

Be careful when reaching in crawlspaces, attics, and basements when you pull out the Halloween and holiday decorations this year by wearing thick gloves. It's also a good idea to shake out decorations that are hollow and be careful digging in boxes. offers a great spider identification chart along with information on bite toxicity.

Related: Ouch! How to Identify Your Bug Bite

Yellow Jackets

In some areas it seems like yellow jackets go a little crazy during the fall. You see them near large piles of leaves and along lawn edges. Yellow jackets are attracted to the honeydew fall aphids deposit on leaves and grass, making bees flock to areas where they can ingest the sweet substance.

A yellow jacket sting can cause pain, swelling, and itching but many who are allergic to these bees need to head to a walk-in clinic to receive immediate treatment for anaphylaxis. If you know you are allergic, ask your doctor about EpiPens you can use on the spot if stung.

Related: Types of Bee Sting Reactions and How to Act Fast

Stink Bugs

When fall arrives, stink bugs seek indoor refuge and enter homes via any cracks they can find. If you step on one, they release an unpleasant odor and while they don't bite humans, once they infest a home, they're hard to get rid of. Many people call exterminators or use vacuums to sweep up the infested areas. They can also infest fruit trees to the point where often it's better to cut down the tree than try and save it. Their unpleasant odor, especially if many are killed at once, can trigger asthma attacks. So, be careful if you find many of these in one area and suffer from asthma. Call a professional to exterminate them if you find them around your home.

Tips for Getting Rid of Fall Pests offers some smart tips on keeping spiders and other insects out of your home:

  • Make sure there are no holes in your screens. Many of us like to open windows during the fall season and bring in the cool air, so holes in screens are just one way to invite the creepy crawlies of fall inside your home.
  • Place screen vents on chimney openings.
  • Locate and seal any cracks you find inside and outside of your home including around windows, in basements, and around the home's foundation. Check for cracks around outlets, ceiling fans and baseboards, and seal those as well.
  • Use airtight lids on outdoor garbage cans and get rid of garbage on a regular basis. Don't let it pile up.
  • If you are stocking up on firewood for the winter season, keep the firewood pile at least 20 feet away from your home. Insects and spiders love the warmth and dark of wood piles.
  • Call a professional exterminator if you can't get rid of any infestation.

Fall bugs and insects are part of nature but it's best to avoid them, especially if you've had allergic reactions to any bite in the past. If you do get stung or bitten and start to experience symptoms, find an urgent care location for proper treatment.