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.
- Invest in updating weather-stripping around windows and door frames.
- Inspect around the outside of your home: roof eaves, porch ceilings, and attic rafters
If you spot a wasp in your home, don’t hit the panic button. In the winter months, wasps tend to move slower than normal and your licensed pest control professional can remove the nests with ease.
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.
When we think of winter pests we usually think of squirrels, raccoons, rodents, and spiders. Ladybugs aren’t usually at the top of our list, but they are one of the most common winter pests. During the warmer months of the year, ladybug populations grow as they feed on the foliage and aphids. With the onset of colder weather, these food sources diminish, forcing them indoors in search of food and warmth. Ladybugs will seek shelter under rocks, leaves, and timber, and inside buildings and homes.
Ladybugs aren’t considered a threat to humans. However, they have been known to cause allergic reactions in some people and aggravate asthma. They also give off a smelly, yellow colored fluid that stains anything it comes in contact with.
The best way to prevent ladybugs is to eliminate ways for them to get into your home. Make sure the cracks around your windows, doors, siding and utility pipes are sealed. You can use a silicone or silicone-latex caulk to seal. Repair and replace damaged screens on both windows and doors. If you already have ladybugs in your home, the best way to get rid of them is with a vacuum cleaner. Empty the vacuum bag into a trash bag and seal it tightly and dispose of it outside immediately. If you suspect you have a ladybug infestation, contact a professional pest control company to provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.
For many families, a live Christmas tree is part of the Christmas tradition in their household. Whether you are chopping down a Christmas tree yourself at a Christmas tree farm or buying one that has already been cut, Christmas trees can bring much more than holiday spirit and that infamous Christmas smell to your home.
Christmas trees can often serve as homes to insects and birds. Although this can be unnerving to think about, with careful inspection you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The insects that make themselves at home in trees often can not survive in the warmth of your home. In this case, it is best to wait for the insects to die and vacuum them up.
Other insects that are overwintering in your tree may confuse the warmth of your home for spring time and begin to hatch or come out of hibernation. This is why it is so important to thoroughly inspect your tree when picking it out. Take a look at each branch for signs of insects. If you see insects, simply remove them. If you see a large amount of insects, it is probably best to choose another tree. Make sure to vigorously shake your tree before bringing it into your home. This will dislodge any insects that may be in your tree.
Most importantly, do not spray your tree with an insect repellant. These products are highly flammable and could be dangerous with the lights and decoration you put on your tree.
If you are concerned about insects brought into your home by your Christmas tree, call the experts at Northwest Exterminating.