Do you know what happens to pests when the weather gets cold?
Most people assume that pests die off, like plants or flowers, or that they go into hibernation, like bears. (This is probably because we don’t see nearly as many pests in the winter as we do in the spring and summer.)
Unfortunately for you and your home, this isn’t the case.
Insect populations may shrink as the weather cools, but they don’t go away completely. Some insect species head for warmer climates, like the Monarch butterfly. Some burrow underground or go dormant. Other insects, however, can become a big problem in the winter, as they head indoors to seek shelter and warmth.
Below, we explain some of the most common pests you’ll find in winter and what you can do to keep them where they belong: out of your house!
Common Winter Pests
There are a few pests that are extremely common in our area during the winter. You might have seen a few around your house in winters past. Let’s look at a few of them.
Rodents, specifically mice and rats, do not migrate south or hibernate during the winter. Instead, they look for food, shelter and warmth—and your house is a very attractive source of all three.
A rodent infestation presents a serious health hazard to your home: rodents can contaminate food and spread salmonella, Hatavirus, rat-bite fever, and other scary diseases. The fleas and ticks hitchhiking on a rodent’s back also bring their own dangers—like Lime disease. In addition to making you and your family sick, rodents chew through anything they can get their teeth on. They’ll often chew through electrical wiring, putting you at risk for a house fire.
Both mice and rats reproduce quickly—with each female able to produce more than 5 litters per year, each with up to 14 babies.
This brown, shield-shaped insect comes indoors in the winter in search of a place to “overwinter” (survive the cold temperatures of winter).
You might have already learned the hard way that this bug is one of the worst to get rid of. If you crush it—purposefully or accidentally—the bug releases a foul-smelling odor.
Asian Lady Beetles
As winter approaches, you’ll likely see asian lady beetles—a bug that looks very similar to a lady bug, but is more orange in color.
This pest can be a big nuisance, coming inside in swarms to crawl all over your walls. While they do not carry diseases, they can aggravate asthma and excrete an awful-smelling, yellow liquid that stains.
You may see more spiders in the fall for a few reasons. Spiders already hiding in your house may come out for mating season. Outside spiders may follow insects (their food) into your home or hitch a ride on things you bring into the house—like shoes, boxes, and even your Christmas tree.
Fortunately, most spiders native to Ohio are harmless, with the exception of the brown recluse spider. Still, that doesn’t mean that you want a spider infestation in your home!
Cockroaches are extremely hardy pests that are able to survive year-round in most climates. Some species—like the German cockroach, prefer a moist indoor habitat. Other species, like the American cockroach, heads indoors when the weather cools.
Cockroaches of all types can carry diseases—like Salmonella, listeriosis, and E. coli—and contaminate your food. Though rare, cockroaches have also been known to bite humans if the infestation becomes severe enough.
How to Keep Pests Outside
Insects and rodents are small, and they will get into your house through any crack or crevice they can find. This makes keeping them out a difficult task.
Still, there are a few things you can do to keep as many pests out as possible. Here are a few tips to pest-proof your home this fall:
- Repair or replace screens that have holes.
- Seal cracks using caulk or weatherstripping.
- Install screens on vents.
- Vacuum and dust regularly.
- Inspect items you are bringing into your home for insect hitchhikers.
- Wipe off your counters after every meal.
- Keep dirty dishes in your sink to a minimum.
- Empty your trash can daily.
- Store food securely in plastic or metal bins. (Rodents easily chew through cardboard.)
With a little elbow grease and some luck, you should be able to avoid a pest problem this winter!
Concerned you might have a winter pest infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.