It’s easy to think that a cold snap will put an end to a bug or rodent problem, but it’s important to know insects and other pests don’t really go away or die off during the winter months. Here’s a look at how many pests survive the cold weather, and why some are even bold enough to invite themselves into your home for the holidays!
Heat your home, and welcome the pests
Insects and rodents are similar to humans in that they need food, water and shelter to survive. Once you crank up that heater in your home, you’ve not only made yourself comfortable, you’ve invited pests indoors. Stink bugs that were outdoors may migrate indoors. Termites love the heat, too. Wood pests like ants, roaches and beetles also gravitate to the heat; ants, in particular, seek out moisture inside the home.
Rodents such as house mice, rats, raccoons or squirrels may also migrate indoors. Roof rats could call your attic home for the winter, but Norway rats and house mice aren’t the best climbers. Droppings in the garage could mean they’re elsewhere in the home, likely in wall insulation or hiding in dark areas.
How some insects survive winter
Insects are smart, and their survival instincts take over in the winter. Some eggs will harbor longer to get through cold spells, and some insects will enter a state called diapause, a sort of hibernation period. Just like humans who endure trauma or starvation, many insects survive on excess body fat while minimizing activity during the cold months. Many bugs also produce glycerol, which serves as a sort of antifreeze for their bodies through the winter.
Outdoors, many hibernate just below the surface and burrow deep into the soil or under tree roots. Underground or inside trees and bushes, insects will retreat into micro-habitats to sustain on existing food and moisture. Even a blanket of snow, while it is made up of frozen water, helps many bugs who burrow into the soil stay warm through the winter.
Bees are known to migrate into hollow areas of trees and stay semi-active while feasting on pounds of stored honey throughout winter. They even produce heat in their winter spaces by worker bees using their wings to fan heat created by the oxidation of honey.
Winter pest control tips
Keeping bugs and rodents from migrating into your home can be done with a few simple steps.
- Eliminate indoor plumbing leaks, which are attractants to insects
- Seal up cracks around your home on exterior walls, door trim and windows
- Throw trash away outdoors and away from the home; don’t let it accumulate after holiday celebrations
- Keep unused firewood outside and away from your home structure; it can be a harborage zone for rodents and insects alike
- Trim trees and bushes near the home and don’t leave old fruit laying around in the yard; clear out areas with heavy collections of leaves, too
- Continue regular pest control service
It’s easy to forego pest control services around the home with holiday festivities and other spending taking priority. But keeping your pest control company on a regular schedule will also help you avoid unwanted guests after the winter thaws.
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