Where Do Pests Go In The Winter?

Where Do Pests Go In The Winter?

While most of us look forward to the holidays that come with the onset of winter, many of us don’t look forward to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures that also come along with it. Pests feel the same way we do about cold weather and have developed several different methods to survive these frigid temperatures. So where do pests go in the winter? As much as we’d like to believe they just disappear until spring, unfortunately this isn’t the case. Pests have developed 3 major ways to survive winter:

MIGRATION

Migration is the seasonal movement from one region to another. Just like humans, pests want to go where it’s warmer when the weather gets cold. Some pests will move to southern regions to escape the cold and return to the northern areas when the weather starts to warm. One of the most well known examples of migration is the monarch butterfly.

HIBERNATION

Hibernation is a period of time spent in a dormant state in order to survive the unfavorable conditions of winter. Bears aren’t the only animals that hibernate during the winter! Ladybugs hibernate at high elevations. Wasps seek shelter in eaves and attics of houses or barns to hibernate. Many other pests hibernate in trees, leaf debris, under logs, and under rocks. Honeybees stay in hives during the winter and form clusters when the temperatures start to fall.

OVERWINTERING

Overwintering is the process in which pests pass through or wait out the winter season in sites that provide protection from the cold winter temperatures. Ladybugs, box elders, and stinkbugs overwinter in secluded, sheltered places like your home. These pests tend to congregate in large numbers so if they overwinter in your home they could infest in large numbers. Pests like rodents, cockroaches, spiders and flies remain active during the winter in our homes. They move indoors in search of warmth and food. Spiders are relatively harmless but flies can contaminate food and surfaces. Rodents can not only contaminate your food and insulation but can also chew through wood causing structural damage and chew through wires putting your home at risk of fire and other issues.
Now that you know where pests go in the winter you can help get your home ready to prevent these overwintering pests from invading your space. If you suspect you have a winter pest problem contact a professional who can help identify the pests and help you develop a treatment and prevention plan.

Why Bugs Are Really Trying To Get In Your Home

Why Bugs Are Really Trying To Get In Your Home

Ladybugs are said to be a sign of good luck, but when you start to find them crawling all over the inside of your home, you don’t feel as lucky.
Ladybugs, or Asian Lady Beetles, are just one of the pests that will try to use your home for overwintering. Overwintering is the process of insects passing the winter season, and your home poses as the ideal habitat for this practice.
Temperatures drop, and pests such as house spiders, boxelder bugs, ladybugs, millipedes, stink bugs, and even smokybrown roaches, will make their way in your home to hide during the cold weather. Come spring, these pests will emerge in and around your home in MASSIVE numbers.
The best preventive measures to stop overwintering pests, luckily enough, are DIY!

  • Seal entry points around doors and windows. Also, look for any cracks and crevices to seal.
  • Invest in weather-stripping around your home.
  • Use yellow bulbs for outdoor lighting; these pests are attracted to light, and this will help deter them.
  • Utilize a vacuum for removal; both stink bugs and ladybugs will leave behind foul odors or liquid when smushed.

If you feel you have an issue with any of these overwintering pests, call you licensed pest professional to schedule an inspection right away.

6 Tips For Fall Pest Prevention

6 Tips For Fall Pest Prevention

Fall is the perfect time of year to prepare your home for winter. While prepping your yard and storing away your summer things are usually at the top of the list, don’t forget to protect your home from pests this winter also! Fall is prime time for pests to make their way into your house in search of food, shelter, and warmth over the cold winter months.
Rodents will make their way indoors in search of a warm place to shelter for winter. Flies will often be found on the south and west facing walls of your home in search heat. Many stinging insects like yellow jackets, bees, and wasps will become more hostile in the fall as their food supply dwindles. Cockroaches are attracted by the moisture found in and under your home. Other pests like ants, stinkbugs, ladybugs, and box elders will come inside looking for a place to overwinter.
Now that you know what kinds of pests to expect this fall, what can you do to protect your home from these often unseen invaders? Check out these 6 tips to prevent pests this fall.

  1. Keep Them Out. Inspect the inside and outside of your home for possible entry points that pests can use. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of your home with caulk and steel wool, especially around utility pipes. Screen your attic vents and install chimney sweeps. Screen any other openings to the outdoors like mail slots and pet doors. Repair loose mortar around your foundation and windows. Check screens for holes and repair or replace them as needed. Check for any gaps around doors and windows. Install or replace weatherstripping as needed and install door sweeps.
  2. Keep It Clean. Wipe down your counters and sweep your floors often. Clean up spills immediately. Take out your trash on a regular basis. Don’t let fruits and veggies get overripe on your counters. Keep food, including pet food, stored in airtight containers. Avoid leaving pet food dishes out for prolonged periods of time.
  3. Dry It Out. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and cockroaches are attracted to moisture. Walk your property on a regular basis to check for any standing water. Be sure to check your gutters and rain spouts for clogs and consider installing gutter guards to help prevent them. Check for leaks near your air conditioning unit. Pick up any toys from your yard that may hold water. Keep basements, attics, and crawlspaces dry and ventilated. Consider enclosing your crawlspace. Use dehumidifiers in attics and garages.
  4. Don’t Forget Outside. Maintain your landscaping and keep grass trimmed and mowed. Trim any bushes and shrubs away from your home. There should be at least 2 feet between any landscaping and the walls of your house. Rake up any debris from your yard and be sure to pull weeds. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your house and store it in racks above the ground.
  5. Inspect Before Bringing It In. Thoroughly inspect any items like boxes, packages, and even grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Thoroughly inspect luggage after traveling before bringing them into your home and store them in plastic bags or in external buildings like sheds or garages instead of in your home.
  6. Call The Pros. Call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

Flying Pests And How To Prevent Them

We’ve all been there before… you’re sitting in your house and you hear an incessant buzzing. All of a sudden something flies past your face! If you’re like most of us, your first thought it aghh! A bug in my house! Once you get over the initial shock of being dive bombed by this home invader, your next thoughts might be: What kind of bug is this? Is there more than one? How did it get in my house? How do I get rid of it? While we can’t answer all of your questions, we can help with a few. We’ve listed some of the most common flying pests below, as well as some tips to prevent them from getting into your home.

BEES:

Bees
While there are several different species of bees in North America, we are going to look at bumblebees, honeybees, and carpenter bees.

APPEARANCE:

Bumblebees are large, clumsy looking insects with oval shaped bodies. They are extremely fuzzy. They are yellow and black striped in color. They typically grow between 1/4″ and 1″ in length.

Honeybees are predominantly golden yellow with brown bands, but they can also be orange-brown in color. They have a very hairy appearance. They can grow to be about 1/2″ in length. They also have flat hindmost legs which are used to carry pollen.

Carpenter bees have a fuzzy body that is very robust in shape. Their bodies are yellow except for their abdomen which is shiny black. Males also have a white patch on their faces. Carpenter bees grow from 1/2″ to 1″ in length.

HABITAT:

Bumblebees typically make their nests underground so their nests may not be visible. They will often make their nests in old mouse burrows or in dense clumps of grass. They have also been known to make their nests under woodpiles or behind the siding of homes. Bumblebees are found throughout the United States.

Honeybees typically make their nests in beehives, trees, hollow logs, and piles of logs. It is very common for them to get inside your home and nest in attics, wall voids, chimneys, and crawlspaces. Honeybees are found throughout the United States.

Carpenter bees create their nests in pieces of wood – preferably soft wood that has not been painted or sealed. They will often make their nests in decks, porches, roof eaves, wooden shingles, wooden playgrounds, in wooden outdoor furniture, and in sheds. The entry holes for carpenter bees are perfectly round.

DIET:

All three species of bees feed on nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter bees don’t actually eat the wood they burrow in to make their nests.

BEHAVIOR:

Female bumblebees have stingers but males do not. Bumblebees are not significantly aggressive but they will sting if they feel threatened. Their sting can be dangerous to humans with an allergy.

Honeybees are the only bee colonies that can survive for many years. They are very social insects. Female honeybees have stingers but males don’t. The female stinger is barbed which means it is only able to sting once. Honeybees aren’t known for being aggressive but they will sting if they are directly attacked.

Carpenter bees are very solitary insects and don’t create very large nest. Female carpenter bees have stingers but males don’t. Their sting is strong enough to cause a reaction in humans. Female carpenter bees are docile and rarely sting unless they are directly attacked. Male carpenter bees are very aggressive but don’t have stingers to do harm with.

PREVENTION:

All bees are protected as pollinators so treatment is only provided when they are deemed to be a nuisance or a threat. Removal is always the first treatment option because of this protected status.

  • Avoid planting flowering plants and vegetation near the exterior of your home.
  • Keep woodpiles and compost piles a safe distance from your home.
  • Remove any fallen trees and other piles of debris from your property.
  • Make sure your outdoor trashcans have tight lids.
  • Paint or stain any wooden structures including porches on your property.
  • If you find a nest or suspect you have a bee problem, contact a professional pest control company.

YELLOW JACKETS

Yellowjacket

APPEARANCE:

Yellow jackets have a sleek appearance. They are not fuzzy. They are black and yellow striped in color. They can grow to be 3/8″ to 5/8″ long.

HABITAT:

Yellow jackets build their nests either high up or in the ground. Their elevated nests can be found in the walls of buildings or in attics and chimneys. Their ground nests are usually in areas that lack vegetation or in spaces next to the entrance of buildings.

DIET:

Yellow jackets feed on other insects. They also eat any sweets and proteins that they come across. You can often find yellow jackets at outdoor events because they like to feed on sugary food scraps and drinks that are left out.

BEHAVIOR:

Yellow jackets have a smooth stinger which allows them to sting multiple times. They are usually docile unless their nests are approached. Then they become very aggressive and will sting repeatedly. Their sting can be life threatening if you are allergic. Yellow jackets are beneficial both as pollinators and because they help control the population of nuisance insects.

PREVENTION:

  • Trim back shrubbery and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trash cans have tight fitting lids.
  • Seal cracks in foundations.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Make sure vent covers are secure.
  • If you are outdoors, make sure food is kept covered and dispose of cans, cups, and bottles quickly.
  • If you suspect you have a yellow jacket problem, contact a professional pest control company.

PAPER WASPS:

Paper Wasp

APPEARANCE:

Paper wasps have a sleek appearance with a pinched waste and long, thin legs. They have gray wings and their bodies are black or brown with yellow or orange markings. Paper wasps can grow to be 5/8″ to 3/4″ in length.

HABITAT:

Paper wasps are found throughout the United States. They will build their nests of the ground on any horizontal surface they can find. Their nests are commonly found hanging from trees, shrubs, porches, decks, roofs, outdoor grills, and door frames. Their nests resemble an umbrella attached by a stem. Their name comes from the paper-like nests that they build.

DIET:

Paper wasps are predatory insects and feed on a wide variety of insects and spiders. They also eat nectar and pollen.

BEHAVIOR:

Paper wasps have smooth stingers that allow them to sting multiple times. They are not typically aggressive but will sting to defend their nests. Paper wasps have facial recognition capabilities like humans and chimpanzees do. They can actually recognize the faces of their colony members.

PREVENTION:

  • Nests have to be knocked down in order to prevent rebuilding and overwintering.
  • Adult wasps must also be killed to prevent the nest from being rebuild. This should be done in the early morning or late at night.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a wasp nest or suspect you have a wasp problem, contact a professional pest control company.

BALD FACED HORNETS:

Hornet

APPEARANCE:

Hornets are much bigger than wasps. They are almost completely black except for an off white pattern on their face. They are long and thin with wasp-like bodies. They can grow from 3/4″ to 1-3/8″ in length.

HABITAT:

Hornets are found throughout the United States.  Hornet colonies only survive for 1 year. They build aerial nests that can be found in trees, on utility poles, on the side of homes, and under eaves. Hornet nests can be more than 14″ around and more than 24″ long.

DIET:

Hornets are pollinators. Adults have a liquid diet that mostly consists of nectar and plant juices. They are also predatory and will prey on insects that they bring back to their nests to feed their larvae.

BEHAVIOR:

Hornets have a more painful sting than wasps do. A single hornet sting can be fatal if the victim is allergic. When hornets sting or feel threatened, they give off a pheromone that signals the rest of the colony to attack as well.

PREVENTION:

  • It is difficult to prevent hornets from building nests. If the nest is up high, it is best to just leave it alone.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the exterior of your home.
  • Make sure outdoor trashcans have tight fitting lids.
  • Cap chimneys.
  • Fix any loose roof shingles.
  • Repair any holes in your roof line.
  • Make sure windows and doors have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk any gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you have a hornet nest or suspect you have a hornet problem, contact a professional pest control company.

LADYBUGS

Ladybug

APPEARANCE:

Ladybugs have a distinctive appearance. They are bright red, orange, or yellow with black spots. Their bodies are oval and dome shaped.

HABITAT:

Ladybugs are found worldwide. There are over 5000 species total and 450 species in North America. Ladybugs live outside in gardens and landscaped areas. They aren’t able to tolerate cold weather so in the fall they will invade homes in search of a place to overwinter. They will typically gather on windowsills or you will see them crawling along walls. They tend to end up in attics, under flooring, and in wall voids.

DIET:

Despite their appearance, ladybugs are predatory insects. They feed on a variety of other insects, helping to keep nuisance populations down.

BEHAVIOR:

Ladybugs secrete a substance wen they are threatened that makes them taste bad to their predators. They can also play dead if they feel threatened.

PREVENTION:

  • Install chimney caps.
  • Caulk any gaps around doors and windows.
  • Makes sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Install door sweeps on any doors that go outside.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Secure all vent covers.
  • Fill in any spaces around utility entrances.
  • Try to limit garden areas near the exterior of your home.
  • Trim back shrubs and trees from the sides of your home.
  • You can use an insect light trap to catch any ladybugs that make their way into your home.
  • If you have a ladybug problem, contact a professional pest control company.

MOSQUITOES:

Mosquito

APPEARANCE:

Mosquitoes have narrow bodies with long thin legs and transparent wings. They have gray bodies with white stripes on their abdomen. They also have long beaks that allow them to penetrate the skin. Mosquitoes can grow to be 1/4″ to 3/8″ long.

HABITAT:

Mosquitoes can be found in almost every landscape environment on earth with the exception of deserts and the arctic. Mosquitoes are most often found near stagnant water as this is where they lay their eggs. They are often found on the edges of streams, lakes, and ponds; near wading pools; old tires; bird baths; tarps; piles of trash; clogged gutters; and wheelbarrows.

DIET:

Mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on blood.

BEHAVIOR:

The species of mosquito determines when they are most active. Some species are more active in the daytime while others become active at dark. Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting several diseases and pathogens to both humans and animals. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus, Zika virus, Chikungunya fever, malaria, and canine heartworm among others.

PREVENTION:

  • Eliminate any standing water on or near your property.
  • Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged.
  • Consider installing Leafproof gutter guards on your home to prevent clogs and stagnant water.
  • Store buckets, wading pools, wheelbarrows, and empty pet food bowls upside down so they can’t collect water.
  • Shake off any water that collects on tarps.
  • Dispose of your trash on a regular basis and store it in cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep your grass cut short.
  • Keep doors and windows shut as much as possible.
  • Make sure doors and windows have screens that are in good repair.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • If you suspect you have a mosquito problem, contact a professional pest control company.

HOUSEFLIES:

Housefly

APPEARANCE:

Houseflies have a very distinctive appearance. They have dull gray bodies with vertical lines on the top, a single gold stripe, and a silver stripe on their face. They can grow to be 1/8″ to 1/4″ in size.

HABITAT:

Flies can be found in most homes. They enter through tears in screens, gaps around windows and doors, doors and windows that have been left open, and cracks in the foundation. They are attracted to homes by garbage, animal feces, compost piles, and leaky pipes. They will often rest on your floors, walls, and ceilings.

DIET:

Houseflies are scavengers that eat a variety of different foods. They will feed on food found in pantries and kitchens, pet food, carcasses, garbage, or excrement. Houseflies are only able to eat liquids but they are able to turn many solid foods into liquid form so that they can eat it.

BEHAVIOR:

Houseflies can spread diseases when they land on your food or your food prep areas. They are the most common fly found in homes and only live from 15 to 25 days.

PREVENTION:

  • Clean up pet waste daily.
  • Use garbage cans with tight fitting lids.
  • Keep garbage and compost piles away from your home.
  • Use screens on windows and doors and make sure they are in good repair.
  • Seal any cracks in your foundation.
  • Caulk gaps around windows and doors.
  • Keep food in sealed containers or in the fridge, including pet food.
  • Wash dirty dishes regularly.
  • Take out the trash regularly.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
  • If you have a problem with flies, contact a professional pest control company.

FRUIT FLIES:

Fruit Fly

APPEARANCE:

Fruit flies are extremely small in size, only getting about 1/8″ in length. They are usually brown, tan or black with distinctive red eyes. They are too small, however, for you to determine their color with the naked eye.

HABITAT:

Fruit flies are found throughout the United States. They are usually seen in the kitchen, especially around fruits and vegetables. They live outside in spring and summer. They enter homes as hitchhikers on fruits and vegetables that we buy from stores that are already infested. They can also enter through small spaces in widows, doors, and walls. They are attracted by large gardens, compost piles, and fruit trees.

DIET:

Fruit flies feed on very ripe fruits and vegetables like bananas, strawberries, melons, cucumbers, potatoes, and more. They also feed on fermented liquids like vinegar, cider, and beer.

BEHAVIOR:

Fruit flies are a nuisance. They enter your home in large numbers and are very difficult to eliminate. They can carry dangerous that can be transmitted to humans.

PREVENTION:

  • Inspect your fruits and vegetables before you buy them and before you bring them into your home.
  • Store produce in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
  • Get rid of overripe fruits and vegetables quickly.
  • Pick up any fallen fruit and vegetables from your garden.
  • Make sure your compost bins have lids on them.
  • Empty your trash frequently.
  • Store trash in outdoor cans with tightly fitting lids.
  • Wash your dishes daily.
  • Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • If you suspect you have a fruit fly problem, contact a professional pest control company.

 

5 Common Fall Pests

5 Common Fall Pests

1. Bees

Close-up of a bee on a hive
You may be noticing the bees buzzing more than they were a few weeks ago. Why? (Hint: it’s not to ruin your outdoor fun or to sting you) Some species of bees, like honeybees for example, are preparing for winter by collecting nutrients for their colony via late-blooming flowers. Wasps can also be more active (or noticeable) this time of year, when they change up their usual diet of insects for sweeter, more carbohydrate-rich foods. Since bees are beneficial insects, the best way to prevent stings is by avoiding them. If you have an unusual amount of bee activity around your  home, contact a wildlife removal company for recommendations.

2. Roaches

A cockroach crawling out of a white coffee mug
Cockroaches may start moving indoors when the weather gets cooler in search of food, water, and warmth. The best way to prevent an infestation in your home is with proactive roach control: eliminate or reduce food and water sources and get rid of hiding places by de-cluttering and keeping a clean house. Fix any plumbing leaks, store leftover food and dog food in storage containers, take out the trash daily, and seal or correct any gaps, cracks, or crevices that roaches can use to gain access into your home. If you’re seeing several roaches of varying sizes, you may have a roach infestation. Resist the urge to use OTC sprays as these are only on-contact killers and won’t prevent roaches from reproducing. Contact an exterminator for a pest control plan that will include a thorough inspection and quarterly or monthly treatments.

3. Beetles

A stink bug close-up
You may notice an influx of varying kinds of beetles in the Fall months as these overwintering pests are preparing for hibernation. Common fall beetles include ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and stink bugs. These types of pests often resist traditional treatments with pesticides so it’s best to vacuum up the ones you see inside your home and take measures around your home to prevent more from coming inside. They’ll gather near the warmest areas of your home, usually on the south and west-facing sides. Especially around these areas, check to be sure there aren’t any openings or gaps around windows and doors and, if there are, correct these issues to keep beetles out.

4. Mice

A mouse on a mousetrap with a piece of bread in it
Like other rodents and pests, mice are searching for food and warmth in cooler weather, making your home a welcoming environment. Keep them out by rodent-proofing: seal gaps or openings around your home’s exterior and around plumbing, make sure outdoor vents are covered, repair any holes or tears in window screens or door screens, install weatherstripping around doors, clear out plants, leaves or any other vegetation that may be touching or near your home’s exterior, clean up any yard debris, and de-clutter inside the house. You can also use glue boards in less-traveled areas, like basements and attics, as a proactive approach to mice control.

5. Spiders

A yellow spider in the center of a wet spiderweb
Knocking down cobwebs only to find another one in it’s place the next day? You’re not alone. For some species of garden spiders, like the orb weaver, now is when they are at their largest, making them more noticeable, and females are laying eggs before they die. Since spiders are beneficial insects and can reduce the amount of other pests around your home, try and resist the urge to knock down their webs outside. If you’re seeing spiders in the house, contact an exterminator for pest control recommendations.

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