Did you know pests are impacted by the weather and other environmental phenomena? That means it’s possible to look at trends and make educated predictions about the following year’s pest problems.
Consider this 2023 pest control forecast as your farmer’s almanac for pests. Keep reading to learn what pests you should be concerned about in 2023.
HOW WEATHER AFFECTS PESTS
Many types of weather patterns can affect pests, including seasonal changes, heavy rain, extreme temperatures, wind, drought, and even plant growth. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Temperature is a factor that affects nearly every pest you’re trying to keep outside your home. Warmer temperatures in spring and summer often lead to increased pest activity because insects like mosquitoes and flies thrive in warm weather and become more active during these seasons.
Most insects survive the winter by seeking refuge underground, where it’s warmer, or entering diapause (a kind of insect “hibernation” during the winter). When the weather warms, it tells sheltering or hibernating insects to emerge. (This is why you see a resurgence of insects in the spring.)
If warmer temperatures come earlier in the year, so do pests.
Conversely, colder temperatures in fall and winter can drive pests indoors in search of warmth and shelter. Rodents, such as mice and rats, are known for seeking refuge in buildings during the winter months.
Humidity can also affect pests because high humidity is a great time for breeding and growth for many pests, particularly ants and cockroaches. Speaking of breeding, most insects breed during the warmer months, so as you go outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, it means that we must deal with a higher number of pests than we typically do in winter.
Ticks, for example, breed during Spring and early Summer, so they will be much more prevalent during these months.
Seasonal changes also impact food production, which in turn affects pests. During harvest season, the abundance of agriculture can also lead to an increase in pests that consume the same foods we do (like fruit flies and gnats) and the pests that eat them (like spiders).
Heavy Rain can have both a direct and indirect impact on the pest population. Flooding, aside from the damage it causes on its own, can increase pest activity. When flooding occurs, it displaces pests from the homes, nests, burrows, etc., in search of dry ground…which just might be your garage or living room.
Additionally, if your garage or basement floods, it can attract pests that thrive in damp conditions, like centipedes, earwigs, silverfish, termites, spiders, and more. Flooding can also increase your local mosquito population, as they re-populate in standing water.
Mosquitos can lay eggs in as little as ¼ inch of water and can become full adults within a week.
Whether it be extreme cold, intense heat, windy days, or a summer drought, all these extreme weather patterns can do the same thing: drive pests into your home. But why? Pests have weather tolerances just like you and me.
If it’s too cold or too hot, they will find a more suitable place. If there isn’t enough water, they will search for a water source. If it’s windy and their nest is blown away, they will look for shelter. It’s as simple as that.
If you live in a busy city-center, you may not have too much to fear about outside pests coming in (depending on how clean your neighborhood is), but if you live in a suburban area or near large tracts of land, these pests will look to your home for shelter from any of these weather events.
Lastly, we need to discuss plant growth. We already mentioned that during the fall harvest there can be an increase in insects that consume these products (and the insects that consume them), but there are a couple other considerations.
For the outdoor plants, increased vegetation means increased bugs that eat these plants. Insects such as aphids, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, whiteflies, mealybugs and others all thrive on plant matter, so the more plants there are, the higher chance you’ll attract these bugs.
Then, we have the bugs that eat those bugs. Predator insects like spiders, praying mantis, ladybugs, and some types of wasps will increase if there is an abundance of prey.
The milder winters and warmer temperatures we’ve had greatly affect pest populations in several key ways. (This is especially true for insects, who are cold-blooded.)
What Pests Should You Watch Out For?
We recommend watching out for signs of all common pests—but there are a few you should keep an extra close eye on.
Populations of these pests are booming, thanks to a combination of factors, from the weather, to changes due to COVID, and more.
There are thousands of types of ant species in the world, and they thrive in warmer temperatures. This pest can quickly become a nuisance in your home, contaminating your kitchen and pantry. Worse, if the problem is carpenter ants, this pest can chew through your home (Carpenter ants chew into wood to make their nests)! If they begin chewing and nesting, it can cause structural damage to your home or business much like termites can.
Aside from them, there are several other kinds of ants you may find making their way into your home, like little black ants, thief ants (known for stealing food from other ant hills and avoiding ant traps), odorous ants, and more.
We’re seeing a resurgence of bed bugs, now that more people are taking advantage of good weather to travel post-COVID.
Bed bugs congregate whenever people gather, moving from place to place as hitchhikers. Over the past few years, thanks to pandemic lockdowns, people have traveled a lot less. They stayed home much of the time. As a result, bed bugs didn’t have the opportunity to move from one home or business to the next.
Now, however, travel is picking back up. Many have returned to working in person, and most people are back to socializing at friends’ homes and in public places. People are now taking flights, trains, and buses more often.
This means bed bugs are on the move again, and new infestations are popping up. For this reason, it’s a very good idea to stay vigilant for the signs of bed bugs. Make sure you know what they look like, where they hide, and what you should do if you suspect bed bugs.
Mice, Rats & Other Rodents
Like bed bugs, rodents also were affected by COVID. Lockdowns caused people to stay in their homes, abandoning office buildings and most public places. As a result, there was no one around to notice a growing rodent problem. Rodents were given free reign to multiply and wreak havoc!
Rodents also benefit from warmer weather, as it can allow them to extend their breeding season. A longer breeding season equals more rodents—and as you might know, rodents already breed quickly!
That’s why we recommend keeping an eye out for signs of rodents. They can squeeze through the tiniest of spaces to enter your home, so it’s a good idea to do all you can to keep rodents out.
Hurricane season (June through November) is always an issue, and not the least because they can cause serious damage.
What do hurricanes have to do with mosquitoes? A busy hurricane season brings wind, rain, and potential flooding. Lots of standing water means an increase in mosquitoes because mosquitoes breed in standing water.
Whether you are affected by a hurricane or not, it’s important to scan the area around your house for standing water. Some common places you may standing water (remember, all they need is a bottle cap full) including the following:
- Slow moving streams
- Flower pots
- Bird bathes
- Old tires
- Clogged gutters
- Empty wheel barrels
- Kids play toys (dump trucks, etc.)
So, this summer (and all yearlong in warm areas), be sure to eliminate any sources of standing water in your yard and keep an eye out for a mosquito problem.
Stinging insects benefit from shorter winters and warmer weather, since it allows their reproductive season to start earlier. As a result, by summer, you may find your home inundated with wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and bees.
Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are social insects that build nests in various locations, depending on the species. These nests can be found in natural environments, such as trees and underground, or in man-made structures. Here are some common locations where these stinging insects are likely to make nests:
- Underground: Many species of yellowjackets prefer nests in underground burrows.
- Trees: Some wasps and hornets construct paper nests in trees or shrubs. Paper wasps, for example, build open, umbrella-shaped nests that are attached to branches or eaves of buildings.
- Building roofs and eaves: Bald-faced hornets and European hornets often build large, grayish, football-shaped nests that are attached to the sides of buildings.
- Attics: If your home has an attic, you may find an unwanted surprise during Spring cleaning. Wasps and hornets love using undisturbed attics for their homes
- Playground equipment: Unfortunately, children are not the only ones that enjoy hanging out on the playground. These stinging insects love the corners to build their nests in too.
When it comes to stinging insects, it’s important to know what attracts them to your home, so you can keep them away.
Every year, ticks seem to become a bigger and bigger problem.
Ticks thrive in warm temperatures. They can be active even in winter, as long as the temperature is above 40 degrees and there is no snow on the ground. Recent warm winters have allowed tick populations to grow significantly. Some ticks species are even expanding their territory to new states—such as the Lone Star Tick, now found in Massachusetts.
In our area, you should be concerned about ticks anytime you spend time in the great outdoors. This pest can spread serious diseases, including Lyme disease. Make sure you take steps to keep ticks out of your yard, and wear bug spray to protect yourself.
Like the rest of the pests on this list, termites benefit from milder winters and warmer temperatures.
Warm temps earlier in the year can bring up termite “swarming season,” in which reproductive termites leave their colony to mate and create new colonies.
In addition, warming temperatures over time may eventually cause other termite species to move into our backyard. Formosan termites, currently only a problem in the south, could continue to move north as the weather warms here.
Termites are an enormous problem for any homeowner. This pest can cause thousands of dollars in damage over time. To protect your home, make sure you know the signs of a termite problem.
Need Help with a Pest Problem?
Whatever the pest, ScherZinger Pest Control is here to help.
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.