Do you ever wonder, where do bugs go in the winter? The answer is probably not what you want to hear. For all of the insects that don’t migrate to warmer climates or die off in the cold, there’s only one option: find someplace warm, quick. For many of those overwintering insects, the only warm place around is your home. After reading this article you may want to start considering some winter pest control measures.
What is Overwintering?
As the temperatures drop in the fall and winter, everything scrambles to find warmth. Some animals will migrate to warmer weather. Some animals hibernate. The way an animal spends the winter is called overwintering.
For insects, overwintering can mean many different things. Some find a cozy place under the bark of trees, others huddle together in masses to maintain body heat, and some dig deep underground to stay warm. However, some insects have found a better place to overwinter: your home.
Odds are, your home is the warmest place around. Insects know this and are drawn to the heat, comfort, and constant food source of your home. Where would you rather spend the winter? Under the bark of a tree or inside a nice warm house?
Here in Maryland, there are a few overwintering insects that are more common than others and we’ve got a list for you.
These Are The 7 Overwintering Insects To Watch Out For This Winter:
We know you’re familiar with this one, everyone is. Ants are easily one of the most common pests to find in and around any home. These social insects live in colonies that usually number in the thousands but have been known to number in millions.
In the winter ants will seek out warmth and food, both of which can be found in your home. If you are seeing ants in the kitchen, bathroom, or other areas in the house it may mean you have a colony.
Ants can easily make a home in your walls, under your floors, or in your crawlspace. These ants will come out to raid your pantry, contaminating your food or your pet’s food in the process.
Some ants can even cause structural damage to the wood in your home. If you find those big, winged, carpenter ants then it’s important to get rid of them quick. They get into areas of damp or damaged wood, digging it out to grow their nest and create tunnels to move around in.
The 5 most common species of ants found in Maryland are:
- Pavement Ants
- Acrobat Ants
- Thief Ants
- Odorous House Ants
- Carpenter Ants
Let’s face it, flies may be the most annoying pests on earth. Constantly buzzing around your face, landing on your food, and avoiding your flyswatter like they’re Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Flies are not fun.
Not only are flies annoying, they’re pretty gross too. Flies have been known to eat dead animals, rotten food, and garbage. They are also carriers of several diseases including salmonella, E. Coli, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and many more.
Here are 5 Common Flies Found in Maryland:
- Fruit Fly: These tiny flies are found hovering around fruit, where they like to lay their eggs.
- House fly: These gross insects are major carriers of diseases. They will eat just about anything.
- Blow Fly: Metallic green, these flies are actually pretty cool looking. However, they are also carriers of diseases and love to buzz around your food.
- Drain Fly: Small and fuzzy, these little flies look similar to moths. As hinted at in their name, they breed in drains and spend their days hovering around your sink and bathtub.
- Cluster Fly: These guys are a little bigger than house flies and are not known to carry diseases. Where there’s one there’s sure to be many more.
The best way to get rid of flies is to eliminate their food and water sources. Don’t leave any food out, make sure everything is sealed, and get rid of any standing water.
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas and ticks are a major problem in the U.S. and as the temperatures drop, we’re able to relax again right? Don’t be so sure. These overwintering insects have been known to find their way into homes.
It’s true that fleas and ticks are most active in the spring and summer but it’s still possible to have an infestation in the fall and winter. As the temperatures drop these little suckers look for warmth. Usually, they will overwinter in trees and shrubs but when these are up against a house they can make their way inside.
Another way they can get inside is by latching onto pets. Once inside, flea eggs can fall off your pet and make their way into your carpet and furniture. From there, they hatch and multiply, quickly turning into a full-blown flea infestation.
Ticks find their way into your home in the same way as fleas. They latch onto your pets or even your family members! It’s still important to check your pets often if they are outside this winter. Once springtime rolls around it’ll be important to invest in a flea and tick control service to protect your pets and family from these little blood-suckers.
Centipedes & Millipedes
As the temperatures drop, these creepy creatures slink into the warmth of your home to wait out the winter. It’s not uncommon to find these many-legged creepy crawlies in bathrooms, basements, or anywhere with lots of moisture.
Centipedes and millipedes are some of the oldest creatures on earth, with fossils dating back over 400 million years ago (that’s before the dinosaurs!). While they may be creepy to look at they are mostly harmless.
Millipedes eat dead plant matter and will not bite humans. They can release a fluid that smells bad and can irritate your skin.
Centipedes, on the other hand, are predators. They eat other pests and can actually be a good arthropod to have around. Using venom-filled jaws, they attack their prey. They rarely bite humans and, if they do, the venom is weak but can cause swelling and allergic reactions. The bites are typically only dangerous in very young children.
One of the key indicators that summer is over is when the crickets stop chirping outside. But where do crickets go in the winter? They go where it’s warm.
Crickets, like all other bugs, need warmth, food, and water to survive. When the temperatures drop they begin to migrate closer to the warmth of your home. If there are any gaps in the seals of your windows or doors or if there are any holes in the walls or foundations then they will find their way inside.
Once inside, crickets will make themselves at home. They can eat other insects, fruit, your food, cloth, linen, and so much more. Your home is basically one giant feast for them.
To prevent these overwintering insects from getting in the home this winter you will need to make sure all of your food is in sealed containers and stored properly. Don’t leave any food out and make sure to clean up any crumbs or messes. Another great idea would be to get a perimeter pest control service, here at On The Green Inc. we offer a great service to protect your home from these pesky invaders.
The infamous cockroach is a very common pest. It can be found all over the world and it can survive in very tough environments. Just because it can survive these tough environments doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy the safety, warmth, and comfort of your home.
As the temperatures drop, these creepy pests have to find a warm place to overwinter. Your home is the perfect place. Roaches tend to stick to dark, damp areas with easy access to food and water. They love basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and pantries.
If you find one cockroach that typically means there are more hiding out of sight. It’s important to react quickly before you have a cockroach infestation on your hands. A great way to keep them at bay is to cut off their food and water supply. Put all food into sealed containers and eliminate standing water. Make sure to also checks for bad seals around your doors and windows to find their point of entry. A perimeter pest control service, like the one offered here at On The Green Inc., is a great way to prevent cockroaches from getting inside.
These are the 3 most common cockroaches in the home:
- German Cockroach: These are by far the most common. At only half an inch, these roaches are the smallest of the 3.
- Oriental Cockroach: These roaches are between 1 – 2 inches in length. They are dark brown or black.
- American Cockroach: At 2 inches or larger, this is the biggest house-infesting cockroach in America. It’s a red/brown color and will eat anything from food to feces (gross!).
What’s the most feared pest of all? For most people, it’s the spider. These 8-legged arachnids are the stuff of nightmares. Not only are they creepy looking, but some of them can be pretty dangerous.
We’ve all heard that spiders are great to have around the house. They keep cockroaches, crickets, flies, mosquitos, and other pests out of your home. That being said, we know you’d prefer it if there weren’t any pests in your home at all, especially if it’s one of the venomous spiders here in Maryland.
The best way to eliminate spiders from your home is to eliminate the other overwintering insects in your home, clean out corners and other areas where spiders frequent, and invest in a perimeter pest control service.
Here are 5 common spiders in Maryland homes:
- Black Widow: Very venomous and, unfortunately, very common in Maryland. The shiny black body and red hourglass of the females have made them famous and pretty easy to spot. Look for their messy webs in porches, basements, and corners.
- Cellar Spider: Sometimes mistaken as daddy longlegs, these spiders are not dangerous to people. They often live in basements.
- Common house spider: They have messy webs like the black widows but are not dangerous to people. They have light colored bodies.
- Jumping spider: These little hoppers are actually pretty cute. They’re not dangerous to humans and they don’t spin webs. As their name suggests, they jump around to catch their prey.
- Wolf Spider: Sometimes confused with the much more dangerous brown recluse, these spiders are big, brown, and fast. These are the spiders that give people nightmares. The females carry their babies on their back, making for an extremely unsettling image.
While they are not native to Maryland, it is still important to mention the brown recluse. As the temperatures continue to rise over the years, these dangerous spiders are expanding their habitat. They will live wherever it is warm enough for them. Their light brown bodies and thin legs get them confused with wolf spiders and grass spiders. The thing that gives them away is the dark brown violin-shaped mark on their back.
Brown recluse bites can cause necrosis (skin cell death) around the area of the bite which can lead to a pretty nasty infection. If you are bitten by this spider, like being bit by a black widow, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.
Winter Pest Control Solutions
It’s bad enough that the cold weather and dark days of winter keep us indoors, but to be cooped up with an infestation of overwintering insects is just unacceptable! We wouldn’t wish that upon our worst enemies. There are a few ways to help protect your home from an invasion of pests this winter.
How Can I Protect My Home From Overwintering Insects?
Store Your Food!
Do you have ants in the kitchen? Cockroaches in the pantry? Flies in your fruit? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then you have a food storage problem.
If you have pests in the kitchen then it’s time to pull out the Tupperware and plastic bags. Properly sealing all of your food is the fastest way to eliminate the largest food source for most of the pests in your home. This goes for any pet food in your home as well!
Make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs around the kitchen as well as these can quickly turn into feasts for insects.
Check the Seals
“How did the pests get in my home anyway?” Does this question sound familiar? If you have a pest problem then you may be asking yourself this very question. One of the most common answers is a bad seal.
If any of your windows or doors have a gap then the pests have a clear path into your home. Doing a spot check around your house for any gaps, cracks, or holes will give you a clue as to how the pests are getting inside this winter. Seal those up and you can start taking control of those overwintering insects.
Keep the Trees, Bushes, Shrubs, and Firewood Back!
Your home isn’t the only place where pests go in the winter, overwintering insects love your trees and shrubs outside as well. Many pests will seek out warmth and shelter under the bark of trees, in the shrubs around your home, and in firewood piles as well. Having any of these too close to your home is just asking for trouble.
A good way to solve or avoid this problem is to make sure you trim your trees and shrubs to keep them from touching your home. If you have any piles of firewood, keep them away from your house to avoid a possible ant or termite infestation.
Invest in a Perimeter Pest Control Service
Here at On The Green Inc, we offer a comprehensive Perimeter Pest Control Service to help keep those overwintering insects at bay. Our Perimeter Control Service treats around the foundation, windows, cracks, and other hidden spaces, creating an invisible barrier around the perimeter of your home.
On The Green Inc.’s pest control services help to keep ants, centipedes, crickets, spiders, cockroaches, and other creepy crawlies from entering your home. Our Perimeter Pest Control Service includes 9 service visits during active insect periods to target outdoor insects. In addition to killing targeted pests, each application repels new incoming insects for 4 weeks – guaranteed! Contact us at On The Green Inc., or you can call us to set up an appointment!