Whether you love or hate winter, it’s important to recognize that colder temperatures and even snow on the ground doesn’t necessarily protect you from pests; it just means that different pests are eyeing your home. Professional pest control is just as important in the winter as it is during the milder months.
Why is winter pest control so important?
Primarily to keep in control of and prevent the arrival of overwintering pests. For those of us in New England, this typically means stink bugs, lady beetles, and rodents. Each of these are eager to cozy up in the warmth of your home this holiday.
Fortunately, by scheduling regular pest control year-round, including during the winter months, you can ensure these pests overwinter elsewhere.
Pests Want Warmth, Too
From a survival standpoint, it’s no wonder that pests are prone to make their way indoors and into our homes to avoid the harsher elements. While it’s true that some bugs do (mostly) die out due to the cold, many ride it out by simply finding shelter.
And, unfortunately for us, these same pests have an uncanny ability to break new grounds as they adapt our homes into their own, with little consideration to the true homeowner.
If you’ve had the pleasure of hosting these seasonal tenants against your will, then you understand the concept of overwintering pests and what that means. For the uninitiated, overwintering pests are those that seek out warmth and shelter to weather the winter months. In most cases, your home is a prime target, and these pests will start making their move during the fall as soon as the temperature starts to drop.
Overwintering pest species can differ depending on geographic location. For homeowners in New England, it’s fair to expect the same usual culprits, specifically lady beetles, stink bugs, and rodents like mice and rats. Often a very hot summer with ample or above average rainfall also means that ticks will stay active longer than they normally would, though at least they tend to stay in the yard.
Meet Your Overwintering Overachievers
While the list of potential wintertime pests is extensive, our main concerns typically focus on the following:
Stink bugs: So named because of the foul odor they can emit when startled or crushed, the brown marmorated stink bug has six legs, measures approximately three-quarters of an inch long, and is shaped like a shield.
Lady beetles: Often referred to simply as ladybugs, lady beetles will look for cozy cracks and crevices in natural materials like stones and tree bark in order to stay warm and survive the winter. If urban sprawl has invaded their natural space, your house will make a lovely substitute. Working together to wiggle under weather stripping, lady beetles will pile up in groups and wait out the winter. However, an unseasonably warm winter day, particularly one filled with sunshine and bright light, can inspire their activity, which is when most homeowners take note of their existence indoors.
Rodents: Mice and rats will also make a move on your house this winter in order to survive the cold and, with any luck, enjoy a reliable source of food until they can venture back outside again without freezing. Despite their rapid reproduction rates, which accounts for their persistence and numbers, these rodents don’t need much wiggle room to access yours! In fact, mice only need about a pencil diameter’s width to squeeze into your cozy surroundings, while rats can make do with only a half-inch of opportunity. For this reason, ensuring that your home is as tightly sealed up as possible, particularly around doors and windows is essential to avoiding the intrusion of rodents this winter.
It’s fair to assume that the only scurrying around you’ll want to hear this holiday season should come from excited friends and family, especially those who are still in footie pajamas.
Get ahead of these seasonal pests this year by teaming up with the experts.