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DayCreek Journal

September 27 , 2004

Shields Up

Box Elder Bug (Pestidius Cordwood Housius)

Ah...autumn. A time for taking a hike on a crisp, clear morning with leaves crunching beneath your feet, a time for harvesting all that is good, a time for apple picking and pumpkin carving and of course, a time for sucking up box elder bugs with a shop vac. What else could be better?

Through my years of bug infestation experience, I have come to the conclusion that the only method that the bugs can get into the house is through the windows. They can’t come in through the cordwood walls because of the foam insulation. The foam has sealed up the walls to the point that air doesn’t get through so unless the bugs have some form of mystical powers, the main points of entry are the doors and windows. After careful inspection of our window screens it became apparent that they must be squeezing their way in through the weather stripping. Our windows are quite long and the screens tend to bow just enough that the Asian beetles and box elder bugs can weasel their way into the house.

The bugs are the most active on warm autumn days when temperatures climb up into the 70’s (F) and when the weather is warm, the windows are opened for ventilation. This is their chance to squeeze into the house through the screens.

So back in August I planned for the invasion. Since the screens don’t have to be removed in the winter, I took a roll of Mylar packing tape and went around and taped all of the screens to the window frames. This in itself is the best defense to keep the bugs out of the house.

Secondly, I have been working on caulking all nooks and crannies on the exterior of the house. This means all small gaps between the window flashing and mortar. This also means filling in the checks of the log ends. It’s a tedious project and I’m only about half done, but the end result will leave no place for box elders and Asian beetles to hide on the exterior of the house.

Will the shields hold? “I can’t guarantee it captin’, but I’m givin’ it all I’ve got.”

Daycreek wants YOU!
Daylight is getting shorter with each passing day and it won’t be long before the snow starts to fly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I will get all the walls completed this year. As a matter of fact, my plans are not to build the remaining front two walls until March/April of next year. Why? I am inviting YOU; yes YOU to send me a signed log to be mortared into the last two walls of the house. This is an opportunity for those who have painstakingly read through my diatribe (and bad grammar) through the many years it has taken to build our dream home. If you are interested in doing so, please click on the comments box located in the left-hand column of this page. I will email you with instructions if you care to participate.

6.3 Walls to go
Well…I almost finished a wall this week, but ran out of time. I guess I’ll finish it up next week and get the next wall ready. The next wall to be done is the back door wall and although it will take less cordwood to complete the wall, I need to build a doorframe, install metal lath for the plasterwork and dig out the bottle-ends that are imbedded in foam insulation. Besides cordwood stuff, I’ve got to get the woodstove ready for this winter. The woodstove needs to have the gaskets replaced and the chimney cleaned. Plus, there are many other odds and ends left to do to get the house ready for winter.