Attics Have Their Share of Pests

By Chris Williams on July 13, 2015.
Pests in the Attic

My wife and I have a bet on this one. I say that a typical attic does not have any real pest problems because it is just too hot up there in the summer and too cold and uninhabitable in the winter. She says pests live in attics all the time. Who’s right? R. B., Revere, MA


Your wife wins. Off the top of my head, I can name at least a dozen pests that are found mostly in attics. But you’re right in that at first glance an unheated/uncooled attic doesn’t seem like a very hospitable place to live, even for a pest. Though while an attic may be hotter than the outside in the summer, it is definitely warmer than the outside in the winter.

If you’re a pest, an attic has a lot of things going for it. First, and most important, it’s almost never disturbed, no one goes up in the attic if they can help it. An attic and its surrounding roofline have plenty of small openings that allow an insect inside, and plenty of places around eaves and vents to chew openings if you’re a larger animal. And once inside, there’s no shortage of nest material in the form of insulation, papers, clothes, and so on.

Pests in attics can be broken out into three different groups:

Mammals and birds – Squirrels, bats, raccoons, opossums, and mice are either nesting in the attic or attempting to get into the attic to build a nest.

Fall-invading insects – In late summer/early fall, several different types of insects move into homes to spend the winter. Many of these end up in the attic because they fly to the roof or climb exterior walls looking for an opening. Overwintering attic insects include cluster flies, Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, Western conifer seed bugs, and paper wasp queens. At least these pests are temporary and will move out come spring.

Insects That Are Infesting Stored Items – Some insects become attic pests because they are infesting materials stored in the attic. Silverfish and firebrats infest and damage papers and fabrics, among other things. Silverfish love to hide in cardboard boxes. Clothes moths and carpet beetles infest stored clothing, woolens, furs, hides, etc.


Photo credit: soupboy / Foter / CC BY-SA

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