Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean pest problems have gone away. In fact, Mother Nature was so generous with a nice, warm, extended autumn, it’s really contributed to pest populations thriving without going into dormancy until much later. Even trees started pollinating a second time back in November-December, which totally explains why [my] allergies have been awful this last year.
Are Bugs Worse This Year?
There’s a lot of buzz about whether the mild winter will mean our spring is way more heavily populated with insects than usual. It’s so hard to say at this point. Are the bugs worse this year so far? Based on the types of calls and requests we’re getting, there’s no question it’s unusual. We can definitely see how pests of many different types are confused. Their cycles are thrown off. Sunny days are providing enough warmth to wake up some of the occasional invader type insects like stink bugs, boxelder bugs and Asian beetles (ladybug’s evil twin). Meanwhile, other types of insects like yellow jackets are still just now trying to seek refuge from elements in the way of attics or behind siding. Snow actually provides protection for rodents from predators so they’re having a nonstop heyday. So are all these populations of critters only going to reproduce more, making our spring a creepy nightmare? Time will tell I suppose.
Regardless of this winter being weird with temperatures all over the place, winter pests DO exist. We wanted to remind homeowners that winter is actually a critical time to pest-proof around the house to help keep pests from coming indoors.
“Although winter is a time of hibernation for many animals, certain pests can be year round issues that homeowners should continuously address to prevent infestations and damage,” said Jeff Beallis, Rose Pest Solutions Lombard IL Branch Manager. “In fact, we’ve received various calls in recent weeks regarding wasps, believe it or not.”
Common Winter Pests
- Stink bugs
- Boxelder Bugs
- Asian beetles
How to Prevent a Winter Pest Problem
As such, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips for homeowners to ensure their homes remain pest-free this winter:
- Look for missing roof shingles, ripped window screens and clogged gutters, all of which are entry points for pests.
- Seal cracks and holes including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundations and windows.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Vacuum around doors and windows. Frequent vacuuming can catch invaders like spiders, silverfish, earwigs and beetles.
- Inspect garages and outbuildings for rodents or signs of a rodent infestation. Organize cluttered debris, boxes and random items along the walls where mice may hide or nest.