The arrival of spring is practically a holiday for pests.
While pests can be, well, a pest at any time of year, winter can be a tough time for them. Most of winter is spent trying to simply survive (whether they migrate, overwinter, or go into a hibernation-like state). But when winter ends and spring returns—watch out! It’s time for pests to mate and flourish.
If you want to keep these pests out of your home, it’s important to arm yourself with some knowledge. In the first of a two-part blog post, we’ll talk about why pests are so abundant in the spring and which pests to watch out for.
Why Spring Means Pests
Pest populations explode in the spring for a few reasons. It’s warm, and there is an abundance of food. Under these conditions, pests can thrive. In addition, spring is mating season for many pests, like termites.
Unfortunately, it looks like this year is going to be just as bad as the last when it comes to pest populations. The National Pest Management Association writes that the recent nor-easter won’t be enough to kill off pests and reduce their populations in spring (even if the adults die, the larvae will live on). In fact, heavy rains like the kind we have had in Cincinnati will actually push more pests indoors.
What Pests You Need to Look Out for
Certain pests are active year-round, and you should be vigilant for them regardless of the season. These pests include mice, rats, cockroaches, and bed bugs.
Other pests become less active, or even dormant, in the winter months and increase their activity in the spring. These pests include the following list. When it comes to these pests, it’s important to be especially watchful in the spring.
Ants are one pest that ‘overwinter’ (a strategy much like hibernation). When spring arrives, they become active again. This means it’s time for them to seek out food, water, and warmth. Ants will also develop their colony and mate. During spring, you’ll likely see winged ants: this is the life stage in which ants will leave their colony in search of mates. After they have mated, the ant queens will then land, lose their wings, and attempt to start a new colony.
Termites are less active during the winter—but not inactive. Termites still need to seek out food, water, and warmth during the winter months. Typically, colder temperatures prompt them to burrow deep within the soil to stay warm. (This is why most homeowners miss the signs of termite activity in the winter.) When temperatures increase, they become more active. Like ants, termites also mate in the spring. Winged termite ‘swarmers’ leave the nest in large groups to mate and, if successful, start new colonies. (Because both ants and termites can have wings, it’s helpful to learn to tell them apart.)
Stinging insects—bees, wasps, and hornets—vary in their approach to the winter. Bumble bees hibernate, while honey bees do not. And wasps almost completely die off, with the exception of the queen. (This is why it’s generally safe to knock down a wasp’s nest in the winter: it’s empty.) When spring comes, however, they all rebuild and reproduce. Wasps and hornets, in particular, will build a new nest.
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas can’t survive freezing temperatures, but they can make it through winter by infesting wild animals or moving to areas like homes or barns (which are warm enough to keep them alive). Ticks are hardier and will overwinter until temperatures warm. When spring arrives, both fleas and tick populations can explode—so it’s important to make sure that your pets are protected.
Mosquitoes survive the winter in a variety of ways, depending on the species. Certain species overwinter, while others die off, leaving their eggs behind to hatch in the spring. With the arrival of spring, mosquito eggs hatch, and the new mosquitoes seek out food and mates.
Questions? Contact Us!
Now you know what pests to look out for, which is half the battle. Make sure to check back for part two! We’ll explain why pests are attracted to your home and how you can keep them out.
Concerned you might have an 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.