As a pest control company, we get a lot of questions about cold weather pests. Keep reading to learn which bugs you may see in your home this winter, how bugs survive freezing temperatures, and what you can do to prevent pests in your home all year.
Do all bugs die in winter?
While many bugs and insects will die off with the first frost of the year, other species have adapted to life in cold weather. Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles from the United States to Central Mexico to avoid cold weather, while other bugs may take cover in a chrysalis for the season.
One of the most interesting natural adaptations of certain species of bugs and insects is called ‘diapause’. Diapause can be considered a kind of hibernation—the insect essentially freezes exactly where it is. Nutrients are reserved, development stops, and their metabolism slows to keep the insect alive until spring arrives, and it’s time to thaw out and continue with bug business as usual.
If migrating or diapause aren’t options, some pests will survive the winter by seeking shelter from the cold temperatures in your home.
A pest is considered ‘overwintering’ if it survives throughout the winter—either in the wild or inside your home.
What kind of pests come out in winter?
Different bugs and pests will come out in different regions--in Virginia, the main pests you’ll need to be on the lookout for this winter are rodents and cockroaches.
Rats and mice are nocturnal, so you may not notice them in your home at first. Mice can squeeze through an opening as small as the width of a pencil, so any gaps or cracks in your windows, doorways, and plumbing could be enough for them to gain entry. Rats are larger than mice, but they can still squeeze into smaller areas than you may think, and their intelligence alone makes them a nuisance to try and remove from your home.
Keep an eye out for these signs you may have rodents: Droppings or urine marks, strange noises in your walls or ceiling, holes in walls, unusual pet behavior.
Cockroaches are rumored to survive everything from being stepped on to a nuclear blast—naturally, surviving the winter is an easy accomplishment. Cockroaches are one of many species of insects that will enter diapause to survive the cold temperatures outdoors, but if they take up residence in your home, they’ll stay active all winter long.
Keep an eye out for these signs you may have cockroaches: Droppings, shed skin or legs, an unusual smell, smear marks.
Some insects or pests such as spiders may also hole up in your home, garage, attic, or basement, but typically they hide in darkened corners and tend to stay away from humans as much as possible. Certain species (such as the brown recluse) may hide out in storage boxes and bite when it feels threatened--be careful when pulling out holiday decor and check stored boxes for any stowaways.
Winter Pest-Proofing Tips
Prevent bugs from taking over your home by protecting your home against winter invaders.
Check for Rodent Entry Points
Dark basements, creepy crawlspaces, roof lines, abandoned attics--all these places are great areas for a mouse or rat to enter your home and take up residence. Make sure to check for any gaps in windows or garage doors, and examine plumbing inside and outside your house to determine where a rodent could enter your home.
Prevent Excess Moisture
Excess moisture is a leading cause of water damage in homes, but it also attracts pests searching for a source of water. Search your home for any hidden leaks and winterize your plumbing before the first freeze of the season to prevent frozen pipes from cracking or bursting and causing a messy and expensive problem.
The team at Accel Pest & Termite Control will seek out any rodent entry points and close them off to ensure your home is prepared to banish any uninvited winter guests. Contact our team online or by phone to schedule an appointment today!