Tag Archives: Winter Pest Q & A

Winter Pest Q & A

Will pest infestations this winter be worse than most winters?

Pests need food, water, and shelter, just like humans. If conditions are good for any of these, a population will thrive. If all three are available, populations will explode. As humans, we provide the shelter, whether it be our homes or places of business.  This is also why pests populations vary from region to region of the country. If there is a wet summer with abundant plant growth, expect to see more rodents, insects, and other pests. Dry summers will lead to winter ant populations seeking food and water.

What types of pests can homeowners expect to see this winter?

This time of year, the house mouse is the most common pest in and around homes as well as spiders, squirrels and other small insects. While spiders for the most part are not aggressive, many homeowners and children find them frightening.  Mice on the other hand can be dangerous as they eat and contaminate our food, chew up woodwork and can create electrical fires by gnawing on wires. Other rodents such as chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums can get into open areas seeking food.

We are hearing complaints that ladybugs are coming inside in huge numbers. Are these pests something we need to worry about?

Ladybugs are often described as a beneficial pest.  This is because they help to rid your home and its surroundings of other more troublesome insects.  However, many homeowners can get extremely frustrated when these little bugs make their way inside for the winter.

The good news about ladybugs is that once they are inside your home, they don’t reproduce or feed.  They are merely a nuisance.

How do you get rid of ladybugs once they are inside?

Controlling these insects indoors consists of vacuuming or your best scoop-and-toss-outside method. If you use a vacuum, remember to remove the bag when finished. Seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it with your normal garbage.

If the infestation is bad enough, consider calling in a professional to help you deal with the problem.

What are some other pests that homeowners need to be aware of this winter?

Cluster flies, a name that describes their habit of clustering in large numbers inside attics, also like the warmth of your home from late fall through early spring. These are large, black flies that show up in bedrooms and on windowsills.

They can be difficult to control in homes because they hibernate within inaccessible places, appearing on a sunny winter day, often near windows in the upper portions of the house, particularly in older homes.

What are the prevention steps for a cluster fly?

The best strategy with any pest is to prevent it from ever entering your home. Take some time before it becomes too cold outside to caulk around the outside of your home.  Be sure to seal any crack or crevice that could act like an entry way for pests.

Are there any other steps that homeowners can take to prevent pests this winter?

The National Pest Management Association recommends the following steps to pest proof your home this winter:

  • Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests or even food  that other pests feed on.
  • Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
  • Keep pet food and water areas clean and fresh.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
  • Repair fascia and sofits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
  • A licensed and qualified pest control professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.