Winter is here and everyone is cozying up next to a warm fire. Unfortunately, so are the pests. Many people make the assumption that most pests die off in the winter months when it gets too cold, but the pests are more intelligent than that. Most pests will seek shelter from the cold and the warmest place they know of is your house. Protect yourself from an invasion by caulking your windows and doors, replacing screens, and filling holes. Once a critter and their friends find a way into your walls, it’s hard to get them out. Here are several pests to watch out for during the winter months.
Oriental Cockroach: Also known as the “water bug,” the Oriental Cockroach is a disgusting pest to have around your home. They prefer moist, warmer, and humid areas where they can also find food to scavenge such as your trash bins. The most common places where they will show up are your damp basement, drains, porches, and anywhere there is decaying organic matter. They are better at surviving in the cold compared to other cockroaches, but they will still need to take shelter during the winter. To keep them out of your house you can keep your trash bins outside and make sure to seal your basement.
Earwig: One of the most annoying insects that can invade your property and home during the winter months is the earwig. Since they are not capable of withstanding the extremely cold temperatures, they will do their best to harbor in warmer areas such as mulch, patio stones, a deck, or an above-ground pool. The real problem arises when they find a way into your house. One of the common methods earwigs will use to get inside your home is by nesting in plants and soil that you bring in for decoration. They were there to stay warm outside, but now that they are in a warm house they will start moving about again and become a nuisance.
Carpenter Ant: These pests can accidentally be brought inside when you bring in wood from outside to build a fire. The cold weather freezes them and they cannot jump off when you pick up the wood. Once inside, the carpenter ants thaw out and start wandering around. Many times the ants will search out a warm and humid space and end up making a home for themselves within your walls, and then you’ll have a serious infestation.
Wasp: Although wasps are one of several species that die off in the freezing weather, they can still be a nuisance in the winter months. When the temperature drops, the wasps desert their paper nests and leave their larvae to die in the cold. Although their fate is almost certain death, during the time from when they leave their nest to when they freeze they are flying around without a home, just waiting to sting innocent bystanders.
Lady Beetle: The cute and beneficial ladybug that was imported into the U.S. can be one of the most annoying pests during winter. In order to survive the cold, they move into your house in large numbers. If you see one inside your home, you can be sure there are many more living nearby. Since these bugs are mostly beneficial and don’t cause much damage, the best way to deal with an infestation is through prevention (sealing and caulking entry points) or vacuuming them out. If you have allergies to Lady Beetles then chemical methods may be used.
Stink Bug: The smelly little creatures are attracted to light and warmth and are not much of a nuisance during the spring and summer. But, when the cold starts to set in these pests go running for shelter and their first choice is your cozy home. When you find them in your home, do not smash them as they will give off a foul odor. Just scoop them up and dispose of them how you choose. Luckily, the stink bugs do not reproduce during their vacation in your house because they need leaves to lay their eggs.
Snow Flea: Although not normally a concern for homeowners, one of the most unique insects during the winter is the snow flea, a type of springtail. They not only survive in the cold temperature, but they reach adulthood during the winter and jump around on top of the snow (hence the name). These creatures produce an anti-freeze like protein that keeps their blood from freezing.