As cold weather comes and the temperature drops, you are not the only one who craves a cosy place and snuggles down. To survive the extreme conditions, many winter pests take cover in a warm corner indoors or settle at your pet’s hairy figure. This means you are likely to deal with all the infestations left behind.
Take preventative measures inside your household to keep these uninvited guests at bay with our suggestions below.
Where do bugs go during wintertime?
“How do pests make it through the cold weather? Isn’t there anything to kill them?” You might have encountered such questions while desperately wiping off traces of pests in your windows, kitchens, or anywhere else within your beloved home.
The answer is, while the change in temperature can be fatal to many species of insects, many others have adapted to survive the harsh weather and some others even developed instinctual strategies to thrive as groups to avoid dying alone. While insects can either sneak inside your house to use their own ways to survive, understanding their cold tolerance levels can considerably aid your winter pest control efforts.
Monarch Butterflies are a prime example of migrating winter pests as they run away from the extreme temperature by migrating to warmer climates to the south and begin a new life cycle. Some others opt for hibernation when they undertake a dormant period to slow down metabolism rates to save energy and revive in spring.
And, to your disappointment, many common pests are not going anywhere rather than your house. For example, ants, termites, bed bugs and fleas are some of those that never leave your house. Throughout the winter, ants and termites remain clustered together in large to keep their queens warm and well-fed. Meanwhile, stink bugs will seek some place calm and secluded, such as your attic, crawling space and wall voids to enjoy the warmth.
How irritating can winter pests be?
While winter may disturb you with ‘mystery bites’, there is little clear evidence about pests involved in itching or irritation during the cold season. However, as many insects remain active during this time, in some mysterious bite cases, insects or mites are the true culprits. For example, bed bugs have become increasingly common and their bites are potential irritants. They usually bite people at night while they are sleeping, which is followed by a typical reaction of itchy red welts on exposed skin.
However, since bed bugs are not visible to bare eyes, some might mistakenly identify winter bug bites as a condition known as ‘winter itch.’ This happens because of moisture loss and increased sensitivity triggered by a drop in temperature. Sometimes, bug bites in winter are not necessarily the source of irritation. For example, stink bugs neither bite nor spread disease, but they can still release compounds that can trigger an allergy in some people. So stink bugs in winter should still be considered a potential allergen.
How to keep winter pests away?
There are several domestic, do-it-yourself methods you can take to prevent winter pest infestation, such as
- Sealing up your doors: While checking your doors, be aware of cracks as they lead the path for the bugs to invade your home. In case you detect one, fill the crack as soon as possible with sturdy aluminium, steel threshold or a door sweep underneath the door. Weather-stripping or door-seal kits to the perimeter of the frames or clear caulking to seal the door joints can also help.
- Adding Screens: Whenever you open the windows to allow ventilation without screening, the bugs can easily make their entry. A 20-mesh or fine screen is ideal to keep the bugs from sneaking through the holes.
- Repairing Cracks: Even the most microscopic cracks or holes can lead the way to tiny insects. Therefore, it is important to patch them up. That means you should look for cracks on foundation and walls and fill them using cement or mortar, replace damaged bricks with new ones and keep a cautious eye on any potential cracks or leakage.
- Properly managing your waste: Leaving food and water unprotected is nothing different from welcoming pesky insects to infest your home. Remember to store all of your food in airtight containers, keep unsealed ones in the refrigerator and keep food waste in nowhere but the bin with a tight lid.
- Maintaining home sanitation: It simply means keeping your house clean by practice frequent cleaning, sweeping and vacuuming crawl spaces. Get rid of unnecessary debris such as scrap lumber, old boxes, or old books and newspapers, or anything that can turn into a pest shelter.
However, if things have gone beyond your control or you do not know where to start, professional winter pest control solutions are available. You just need to contact a pest control expert.