When you think of “winter,” what do you think of? Hot cocoa and Christmas lights? Fluffy snow and roaring fires? Unfortunately, winter isn’t a wonderland 100% of the time… especially if you’re playing host to some uninvited guests.
Believe it or not, winter is prime time for a slew of pests and creepy crawlies to invite themselves into your house. In part 1 of this series we reviewed several winter pests, including cockroaches and stink bugs. Now, let’s meet a few more of the pests that may make themselves at home in your house this winter….
While bed bugs are a problem year round, the winter can pose some unique threats including traveling. Whether you’re traveling or have friends or family traveling to come stay with you over the holidays, you’re at risk for bed bugs.
It’s important to understand that bed bugs are incredible hitchhikers so they can catch a ride on you from just about anywhere. Places you might “catch” bed bugs include:
Once bed bugs have made their way into your home, they’re great at hiding. For a few examples of some of their more clever hiding places, read Hide and Seek: 5 Unexpected Places Bed Bugs May Be Hiding.
You can prevent bed bugs this winter by:
Inspecting your surroundings for bed bugs. For example, pull the bedding off of hotel beds and look for signs of bed bug activity as soon as you get to your room.
Storing luggage off of the floor. When you’re at a hotel (or even a friend/family member’s house), store your luggage away from the bed and off of the floor.
Washing (and/or drying) items on the hottest setting. When you get home, wash and/or dry all clothing and soft items immediately on the hottest setting that is safe to use.
Freezing items that can’t be washed. Items that can’t safely go in the washer and dryer can be frozen to kill bed bugs. According to the University of Minnesota, when freezing something “a minimum of 23°F (-5°C) must be maintained for at least 5 days” to take care of bed bugs.
Sealing items in plastic. Items that can’t be heated or frozen should be stored in plastic bags either in your garage or outside of the home entirely for approximately 2 weeks.
Bed bugs reproduce quickly, so if you think you have a bed bug problem call a pest control pro (like those at Scherzinger) ASAP!
Asian Lady Beetles
This pest was originally imported to the U.S. in order to help control crop pests like aphids. Unfortunately, Asian Lady Beels soon became a nuisance for many home owners.
These insects aren’t a fan of cold weather, so they seek out warm homes to spend the winter in. They first land on the exterior of buildings and then set about finding a way inside such as through vents.
Typically, Asian Lady Beetles hibernate through the winter, and they only become a nuisance in the spring when they wake up and begin looking for a way outside. However, if there are warm winter days or it is especially warm in the house, they may wake up early and make their way into the living space.
Asian Lady Beetles are not as detrimental to humans as some other winter pests like bed bugs and cockroaches but they can still cause problems. For example, the dust produced from dead Asian Lady Beetles can cause allergies. In addition, these insects can bite although their bite does not cause serious injury.
To prevent Asian Lady Betters gaining access to your home, inspect your house for any potential entrances. Seal up cracks and crevices, keeping in mind that even the smallest entrance will be like rolling out a welcome mat for these pests. Insulating your home may also help as these pests are attracted to warmth.
Mice and Rats
Both mice and rats may enter your home during the winter months in a search for shelter, warmth, and of course, food. While the idea of this pest may not be as shudder worthy as say cockroaches, they do pose many threats to both you and your home. For example they can:
- Bring other pests with them. For example, mice can bring in fleas, ticks, and lice.
- Spread diseases including salmonella.
- Contaminate food.
- Cause property damage by chewing through wires, burrowing in your home, etc.
Signs of mice and rats include:
- Gnawed objects
- Nests made of torn paper and other refuse – this is probably a mouse
- Tunnels – this is probably a rat
- Torn open food containers
In addition, if you have mice in your home, you may actually see them. They tend to be curious and bolder than rats.If you’re trying to determine if you have a rat or a mouse in your house, check out I Smell a Rat…Or Is That a Mouse? Mice Vs. Rats—Telling Them Apart.
Keep your home rat and mouse free this winter by:
- Sealing up cracks and crevices that would allow them to get into the house.
- Keeping clutter (ex. boxes) off of the floor in your basement, garage, and attic.
- Keeping food put away in tightly sealed containers.
- Keeping your home tidy (ex. wiping down counters after each meal).
Here are some more tips on rodent proofing your garage.
Since both rats and mice reproduce quickly and cause damage to your health and home, if you think you have an infestation, contact a professional, like Scherzinger Pest Control, immediately.
Another article that may help you keep your home pest free this winter is Storing Holiday Decorations the Right Way to Prevent Pests.
Need help with any of these winter pests? 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.