It is a known fact that when the temperatures fall, insects and other common pests cycle through numerous changes in order to achieve their best chance at surviving the harsh environmental conditions. In this guide, you will be introduced to many facts pertaining to pests and the winter months. While it is true that many will seek out warmth and will search for food sources, there are others that migrate or hibernate. Not all pests behave in the same ways during the winter months. Continue reading to learn more.
What Happens to Pests in the Winter?
What happens to pests during the winter months depends on the pest. Yes, there are some that will die off because of the extreme temperatures. Then, there are others that will prepare in order to protect themselves and their young. The following outlines the most common occurrences of pests during the winter:
- Migration and Avoidance – Many pests migrate to areas that are warmer in the winter. Others will attempt to burrow in the ground, hide under frozen water, or make their way indoors.
- Physiological Protections – Other pests have built-in ways of protecting themselves. Examples include huddling together to stay warm as a team, living from a fat reserve, or off of a blood meal.
- Live Freezing – There are many pests that have glycerol within their blood. This is like an anti-freeze. It allows the pest to go into an animated state, yet stay alive. Once it gets warm outside, the pest goes through a form of thawing and continues living as normal.
- Egg Sacrifices – Many will simply die immediately after laying eggs. The eggs survive, but the pest does not. The eggs hatch in warmer temperatures and the species continues to thrive.
- Insulated Areas – Many pests will seek out insulated areas such as piles of leaves, stacked wood, and directly underneath any snow that has fallen to maintain warmth until exterior temperatures increase.
How Do Insects Survive in the Winter?
Insects do not have the body fat to successfully survive a winter on their own. They enter a state of dormancy. This is referred to as “Diapause”. It is a long-term state of basic suspension. Generally speaking, it is just a state of rest. This occurs developmentally with eggs, larvae, and pupa, and it occurs in a sleeping state with adult insects. In most instances, adult insects sleep in a protected area that has some degree of warmth or shelter from immensely cold temperatures. In addition to this, there are insects that will migrate, depend on the glycerol in their blood, and/or attempt to move indoors.
Why Do Rodents Come in During Winter?
When the outside temperatures drop, it is common for rodents to attempt to go indoors. This is especially true if you live in a climate that is exceptionally cold and experiences sub-freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Rodents that attempt to go indoors are in search of food and in search of warmth. Any type of small crack or crevice will allow these pests direct access to the interior of a building. A rodent in the home is bad enough, but if they may their way indoors, they may bring parasites and a wide array of disease-carrying organisms with them.
Why Are Silverfish More Active in the Winter?
When it is cold outside, silverfish will attempt to move into structures. They gain entry through rotted holes, cracks, broken frames, and other types of openings – such as those surrounding pipes going in and out of the home. Once indoors, these creatures will be attracted to certain items – for the intent of keeping warm and feeding. Examples include paper, cardboard, books, and other types of insects that may be present in the home. In most instances, professional exterminating services will be required to eliminate silverfish infestations during the winter months.
What Happens to Cockroaches During the Winter Months?
Your home does not have to be dirty or cluttered to attract cockroaches. During the winter months, it is the higher indoor temperatures that attract these insects. Generally speaking, cockroaches need a food source, a water source, and a warm shelter to survive extremely cold temperatures. To prevent an infestation, you should make sure your home is sealed and secure. Water and food sources should be eliminated. Finally, there should be no area in the home that will allow cockroaches to hide and stay warm. If you find that these creatures HAVE found their way into your home, call for immediate pest control to eliminate them as populations may grow rapidly.
Where Do Ticks Going in the Winter Months?
The winter habits of ticks vary widely, based on species. It has been estimated that only 20% of ticks actually die each year due to cold weather. As temperatures drop, many ticks will latch onto some type of host in order to find a warm shelter or to go dormant during the winter. Many ticks may burrow into the ground or create a den using leaves and/or create one underneath the bark of a tree. If they get stuck in the snow, they will just burrow underneath to stay warm.
Do Bed Bugs Die in the Winter?
No, bed bugs do not die in the winter time. In fact, they remain highly active. For a bed bug to die due to the cold, they would have to be in sub-zero temperatures in excess of 80 years – straight. Furthermore, if bed bugs find that it is too cold, they will place themselves in a type of hibernation state that will aid in protecting them. While it is true that bed bugs die quickly when exposed to high levels of heat, they seem to be able to survive easily in extreme winter weather.
What Happens in the Winter with Termites?
Termites are fully capable of surviving even the harshest of all winter conditions. They possess different physiological responses that help them survive in cold weather. They do not hibernate, either. Most will dig down – past the frost line – to survive. Others will find their way indoors. Once the colony finds a nice, warm, and safe area, they will simply wait out the winter and will continue on with their lives once the air starts to warm. It is during this time that new colonies will develop and massive amounts of damage may take place.
How Do Spiders Live During the Winter?
Spiders will automatically start searching for a place of warmth to shelter during the late fall months. It does not matter how secure your home is, a spider is capable of finding its way indoors. They will hide in dark, quiet places – such as corners, cracks, crevices, basements, closets, and attics. You must ensure that your home is completely sealed and winterized to prevent an invasion of arachnids this winter. Professional pest control service treatment is the most effective means for preventing and/or eliminating spider populations in and around the home.
Where are Mosquitos in the Winter Months?
Many individuals believe that cold weather kills mosquitos. While it is true that this is possible, not all mosquitos die off when the temperatures plummet. In most instances, mosquitos are simply in a warm, secluded shelter, and are entering into a state of diapause to protect themselves during the cold weather. This is what occurs with females. Unfortunately, male mosquitos DO die during the winter months.
How to Avoid Pest Infestations in the Winter
If you want to avoid pest infestations during the winter months, engage in the following:
- First, walk around the entire perimeter of your home and examine all interior areas, too. If you notice any types of cracks, crevices, holes, or other openings, seal them up immediately.
- Once you have sealed up the home, take a look around your property. Get rid of items that have standing water, and any piles of leaves, and if you stack wood outside, make sure you do it away from the home. Trim your bushes, and plants, and ensure that no water, mulch, or other attractants are close to the home. If you observe anything like this, move it immediately.
- Now, go into the home and completely clean and sanitize it. This means every single room. You should ensure that you vacuum carpets, use hot water on floors that must be mopped, clean the counters, wash all bedding and clothes in hot water, and make sure all food is stored in air-tight containers.
By doing the steps outlined above, you will immediately find that your home and your property are no longer attractive to pests. If – by chance – you DO experience any type of pest issue, contact the professionals immediately. We here at All Pest specialize in the removal of pests and the debris that they leave behind. We also offer extensive heat treatments for homes that are infested with bed bugs. Furthermore, we offer thorough inspections. If you would like to learn more or want to set up an appointment, contact us today.