“Creepy Crawlies” On The Move

Despite the drought, there has still been a lot of insect activity. For some it even helped them. 


It has certainly been a fruitful year for yellowjackets, and we find ourselves in the midst of their peak season. Yellowjacket colonies begin with a lone female queen who overwinters and starts a new colony in the spring. By late summer and early fall, the colonies reach their maximum size, with a large number of members to feed. This increased activity can pose a threat, especially when you are spending time outdoors with food and beverages or working in your yard.

“It’s important to note that these insects are often mistaken for ground bees, but they are actually ground-nesting yellowjackets,” explains state entomologist PJ Liesch.

As we face the abundance of yellowjackets this year, the question arises: how do we deal with them? The approach depends on the location of the nest. Liesch says if the nest is in an exposed spot, such as an exposed paper mache-like nest, aerosol sprays can be effective. However, if the nest is hidden or inaccessible, such as in the ground or in structures like barns, a wasp control product in the form of a dust or powder, usually yields better results.

Asian Lady Beetles

Liesch says that similarly to the yellowjackets, Asian lady beetles have also been  particularly active. 

He says, “The abundance of aphids, which are their favorite food source, has contributed to their increased activity. Weather conditions have created a favorable environment for aphids, leading to a bountiful year for these beetles.”

Liesch adds that in the next coming months we’re going to see a lot of them getting into structures as they like to sneak indoors. To help prevent any future problems, he suggests  sealing potential entrance points with caulk, weather stripping, or insulation foam.

Box Elder Bugs

Another insect that likes to make its way into your home is the boxelder bug. Dry and droughty weather conditions have allowed their numbers to increase significantly. Liesch says these are some of the highest numbers he’s seen in the last decade.


Grasshoppers have also been enjoying the dry conditions, resulting in one of the best years for their population. Wisconsin is home to over 70 species of grasshoppers, and usually, their numbers are relatively low. However, consecutive dry years have allowed grasshopper populations to build up, leading to potential damage to plants, trees, and shrubs.

“If dry conditions persist, grasshopper populations may continue to grow, posing a threat to field crops,” explains Liesch.

As the year winds down, the insect activity may quiet down, but it’s always important to stay informed and prepared for any pest-related challenges that may arise. To learn more, visit the Insect Diagnostic Lab Website.