Many pests hibernate or “die off” during the winter, causing homeowners to feel like they can relax during the colder months. Overwintering pests, however, are here to rain on your parade. These pests seek refuge inside our homes looking for food, water, and a warm place to hide until the weather outside is more favorable. Here are 6 winter pests to watch out for along with tips to prevent them.
Ants will come in through the tiniest holes or cracks in the exterior of your home. They also like to sneak in on plants and flowers that are brought indoors. Ants are masters of overwintering, typically seeking out warm places deep in the soil or under rocks to hide out. Food can be scarce, though, and your home provides the perfect location for them to get everything they need to survive the winter – food, water, and warmth. The first step to ant control in your home is to get rid of their food source. Make sure food is well sealed and crumbs are cleaned up from floors and counters.
Beetles like to come indoors to get out of the cold. They are known to hide in the warmest areas of your home, such as near dryers or water heaters. Elm leaf beetles and click beetles are two of the most common overwintering beetles you may encounter. They are often brought inside on firewood. If you spot beetles inside, vacuum them up and immediately discard the bag or canister contents. Eliminate their food sources by keeping your kitchen and bathroom clean. Caulk windows or use weatherstripping around them. Keep wood piles and leaf litter away from your home. Inspect any wood before bringing it inside.
Silverfish prefer damp, cold places and will usually be found hanging out in your basement or bathroom. They are common in the winter months, often hitching a ride as you are hauling your holiday decorations in and out of your attic or garage. They feed on books, glue, wallpaper, and boxes. Keep silverfish under control by vacuuming often and decluttering your home. Get rid of any old newspapers, mail, and cardboard laying around. Inspect any boxes before bringing them inside. Store clothes in sealed bins, preferably made of plastic rather than cardboard.
Ladybugs will come inside through window cracks and openings to shelter from the cold. While they don’t bite, they will secrete a yellow fluid with an unpleasant odor that not only attracts other ladybugs, but can also leave an unsightly stain on your walls, floors, ceilings, and more. Control ladybugs by locating and sealing any entry points you can find. Vacuum them up or spray them with soapy water. The soapy water will not only get rid of the ladybugs, but it will also get rid of the smell, helping prevent other ladybugs from coming back.
Roaches come indoors during winter for heat and humidity as they cannot survive the cold temperatures outdoors. They are also attracted to plants, leaf litter and mulch. Cockroaches pose a serious health risk to humans as they are known to transmit diseases and trigger allergies and asthma. They will also hitch a ride inside on grocery bags, boxes, and used appliances. They prefer to hang out in kitchens and bathrooms. Keep roaches at bay by cleaning counters and floors and vacuuming frequently. Dispose of your garbage regularly. Keep kitchens and bathrooms clean, especially under appliances and cabinets.
Spiders seek out warm, dark places to hide during the winter, usually in your basement, attic, or rarely used corners of rooms. They will also hide out in boxes and rarely used clothes and shoes. Keep spiders under control this winter by decluttering your home. Dust, vacuum, and sweep out cobwebs frequently. Discard any old boxes and packages they can use to hide out in. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from your home and cut back overhanging limbs from the roof. Store clothes and shoes in plastic containers.
No one wants to deal with pests inside their home regardless of what season it is. If you have a problem with pests at any time during the year, contact your local pest control company who can help identify the type of pest you have, identify entry points, and set up a treatment and prevention plan going forward.