It’s the middle of December and you are cuddled up with your favorite book and a warm blanket. Unfortunately, this peaceful moment is interrupted by a buzzing sound followed by the sighting of a wasp! And while you might be thinking “This is odd! It’s winter!”, this occurrence is quite common.
As fall starts, paper wasps will start to die off. However, there are select females who will search for a safe place to overwinter. These safe places can be inside chimneys, behind the siding of your home, and around windows and door frames.
Since winter weather in the south is very unpredictable, bouncing from 20 degrees one week to 72 the next, that random warm weather can trigger the wasps to become active and search for exits to begin making nests; thus the cause of wasp sightings in the month of December. How can you prevent these wasps from overwintering?
Steps to Prevent Wasps Overwintering:
Look to fill cracks and holes found around the foundation of your home.
No matter what season it is, pests will always be in search of 2 things: shelter and food. One place that provides both of these is your home! Pests are influenced by the seasons so their threats change as the weather changes. Different seasons bring different pests in varying stages of their life cycles. It is important to know seasonal pest patterns for your area to make the proper preparations for your home. What can you expect as each season changes throughout the year?
Winter is a time of hibernation and survival for pests. Colder weather triggers a need for most pests to find shelter; some seek shelter outdoors while others will seek shelter indoors. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects will seek out places in logs or in the eaves of your home. Ants will seek shelter in their nesting sites. Overwintering pests like cockroaches, spiders, and rodents will seek shelter indoors, sometimes in our homes. The key to prevention of winter pests is to prepare your home in the fall.
Spring is a time of awakening and mating for most pests. As the weather warms, pests will emerge from their winter shelters and increase their activity. Pests that hibernate over winter will awaken from their dormant states. The spring rains will drive ants from their nesting sites in search of higher ground. Spring also marks the beginning of swarming season for termites. Most pests will move outdoors in the spring in search of mates.
Summer brings the height of backyard pests that put a damper on our outdoor fun. While we tend to see fewer pests inside our homes, we do tend to see larger numbers of pests in our yards and other outdoor areas. Mosquitoes are especially active in the summer months because of the moisture from spring and summer rains. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects are also more active in the summer; their nests can often be found on our near our homes.
Fall is a time of preparation for most pests as they get ready for the harsh winter months. Common fall pests include ladybugs, box elders, and spiders. These pests will often invade your home at this time of the year in search of shelter for the coming months. Fall is a good time to prepare your home for those overwintering pests seeking shelter from the winter weather also, like cockroaches and rodents.
No matter the season, there are steps you can take to protect your home from pests year-round:
Keep your grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed away from the sides of your home.
Keep your yard clear of debris and standing water.
Store firewood away from the home and elevated off the ground.
Inspect the outside of your home for cracks and holes that pests can use as entry points and seal them.
Use weatherstripping around doors and windows and make sure screens are in good repair.
Keep food and pet food stored in airtight containers.
Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight.
Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
Repair any leaky faucets.
If these steps aren’t enough or if you already have a pest problem, call a pest control professional who can come and give your home a thorough inspection and help you with a treatment and prevention plan.
As the warm weather winds down and winter settles in, most of us will breathe a sigh of relief that we survived another season of creepy crawlers. Don’t relax just yet! Just because the weather has turned colder doesn’t mean pests have hibernated for the winter. Many pests will make their way into your home in search of shelter, food, and warmth. Mice, cockroaches, and spiders can be found crawling underfoot in the wintertime. These overwintering pests aren’t just a nuisance to have in your home; they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Rodents are known to carry Salmonella and Hantavirus and can chew through cables and electrical wires, increasing the risk of fires. Some spiders like the brown recluse and the black widow have bites that can be a serious threat to humans. Cockroaches are known to trigger allergies and asthma. Winter brings ice, snow, and wind, causing enough stress on your home without the threat of pest infestations. So what can you do to reduce this stress and get rid of the last of these creepy crawlers? Check out these winter pest prevention tips to help you have a stress free winter.
Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and holes. Seal them to keep pests from easily accessing your home.
Replace any loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors. Repair or replace any damaged screens.
Eliminate moisture by repairing leaky faucets and clearing clogged drains.
Keep gutters clear of debris before the weather gets too cold. Consider installing gutter guards to eliminate the need to clean gutters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call The Pros. Call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.