Top Pests Expected To Trend In The Winter Of 2023

November 13, 2023

Home / The Orkin Blog / Top Pests Expected To Trend In The Winter Of 2023

As the winter of 2023 approaches, it’s time to prepare for a different kind of chill – one brought on by the annual influx of winter pests. These uninvited guests can turn your home or business into their winter wonderland.

To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve compiled a list of the top pests expected to trend during the winter season of 2023.

Reason For Possible Pests To Trend In The Winter Of 2023

The milder winter of 2022 coupled with an unseasonably warm and wet summer of 2023 have allowed for pest populations to grow and thrive. With a warmer fall time (due to El Niño) and a winter season that is predicted to be colder than the past couple of years, those thriving pest populations will look to seek shelter in order to escape the cold. This could potentially result in an increase in sightings within homes and businesses. 

*It is important to note that a lot of the current predictions about the expected wave of pest activity in 2023 is anecdotal/based on expected conditions.

Top 8 Pests Expected To Trend In The Winter Of 2023


Earwig babies

Why Earwigs Are Expected To Trend

Cold winters naturally control pest populations. The milder 2022 winter conditions allowed  large populations of earwigs to survive, which combined with a hotter 2023 summer has led to population explosion in 2023. With a predicted colder winter season in 2023, those thriving earwig populations will look to overwinter inside homes and businesses to escape the cold.

Also, with season end as outdoor furniture, items, and gardening accessories are taken back indoors for storage, there is high chances of  earwigs hitchhiking on these items;   consequently they will be encountered indoors more than usual.

What Makes Earwigs Dangerous?

There is a common misconception that earwigs can crawl into your ear while you are sleeping, but that is just a myth. The truth is that earwigs are not aggressive but can deliver a minor pinch and emit an unpleasant, yellow-brown liquid if they feel threatened.

Earwigs are beneficial bugs, as they assist in the decomposition of organic matter and prey on harmful insects. However, they can also dine on flowers, vegetables, ornamental trees, and shrubs. When present in significant numbers, earwigs have the potential to harm healthy plants and ultimately lead to their demise.

Prevention Tips To Keep Earwigs Out

  • Seal cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation.
  • Replace door and window screens.
  • Keep your living spaces dry and well-ventilated to deter these moisture-loving pests.
  • Remove any decaying vegetation around your property.
  • Clear leaf piles, grass clippings, and compost.
  • Fix leaky downspouts and reroute drains.
  • Inspect outdoor furniture and items prior to bring back indoors for storage.
  • Inspect firewood before bringing indoors for storage and winter use.
  • Check and clean planters, and gardening tools and materials  before bringing indoors for storage.

Rodents (Rats and Mice)

Avoiding Rodents Like The Plague

Why Rodents Are Expected To Trend

The warmer winter of 2022 allowed rodent populations to grow without being naturally controlled by cold weather. The return of pre-pandemic commercial behaviours (i.e. increase in food service, food manufacturing and other industries that involve food consumption and waste), have created enough waste for rodent populations to continue growing throughout the summer.

Warm summer weather condition also allowed more people to get outdoors, in parks, fields and other recreational facilities, generating more garbage. This provided a readily available food source to support robust rodent population growth. As the winter of 2023 is predicted to be harsher than last year, these pests will look for shelter inside homes and businesses to escape the cold.

What Makes Rodents Dangerous?

Certain rodent species, including mice and rats, have the potential to carry and spread severe diseases like Hantavirus through their saliva, urine, and excrement. Hantavirus is a rare respiratory illness that can prove fatal in humans, with no known cure.

In addition to Hantavirus, mice can also transmit other diseases like tularaemia, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis, and murine typhus. Rats, on the other hand, are known carriers of bubonic plague, Weil’s disease, toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis.

Beyond the health risks, both rats and mice pose significant concerns when it comes to food and water contamination. Their droppings, urine, and hair can render consumable goods unsafe. The presence of rodents may also introduce unwanted parasites such as fleas, mites, lice, and ticks into your home or business environment.

Rodents can inflict substantial structural damage to your property by burrowing into the foundation of structures, nest inside insulation, and gnaw on electrical wiring. This not only creates a severe fire hazard, but could also result in costly repairs.

Prevention Tips To Keep Rodents Out

  • Promptly attend to any liquid spills and crumbs to maintain a clean environment.
  • Remove easily accessible food sources, such as bird feeders and outdoor pet feeding areas.
  • Securely cover trash cans to prevent attracting rodents on your property.
  • If storing garbage bins outdoors, keep them at a distance from the building.
  • Trim back vegetation around your property to minimize hiding spots.
  • Seal any wall cracks or holes using rodent resistant caulk or foam.
  • Install screens on vents and ensure door seals/sweeps are snug and well-fitted.
  • Declutter your yard to eliminate breeding and harbourage spots.
  • If storing items in the yard, elevate them at least 40 to 45 cm off the ground.
  • Remove fallen fruits around fruit bearing trees, which would otherwise attract rodents to your property.

Boxelder Bugs

Box Elder Bugs

Why Boxelder Bugs Are Expected To Trend

The relatively mild winter of 2022 allowed more boxelder bugs to survive into the spring and summer. As we approach the winter season of 2023, these pests will look to seek shelter in homes and businesses to escape the anticipated harsher and colder winter of 2023.

What Makes Boxelder Bugs Dangerous?

Boxelder bugs are not known to bite or inflict structural harm to homes; however, they can be quite bothersome due to their tendency to invade properties in significant numbers. These bugs can also cause cosmetic damage to trees, resulting in leaves speckled with scars and blemishes. On warm sunny winter days, these overwintering bugs will wake up and become nuisance indoors.

When crushed, boxelder bugs emit an unpleasant odour and may leave stains on structures. Furthermore, their excrement has the potential to stain draperies, furniture, and other fabrics. It’s worth noting that deceased boxelder bugs can attract other insects, including warehouse beetles and carpet beetles.

Prevention Tips To Keep Boxelder Bugs Out

  • Seal gaps around building foundations, open vents, and unscreened windows and doors.
  • Control infestations on trees before start of their migration season (fall), this will eliminate population influx into structures.
  • Consider removing any female boxelder trees from the property since they feed on fallen seeds as well as developing seeds of the female trees or choose male trees when landscaping and planting in the spring.
  • Contact a pest control professional to implement a preventative exterior barrier treatment.

Stink Bugs

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in a home

Why Stink Bugs Are Expected To Trend

Stink bugs flourish in higher temperatures, typically seeking refuge in tree bark, weeds, and similar outdoor settings. With the warmer winter of 2022, these pests were able to survive and thrive.

As the winter of 2023 approaches, these pests will look to overwinter in structures, so home and business owners should expect to see them indoors over the winter months, especially on sunny, warmer winter days.

What Makes Stink Bugs Dangerous?

Stink bugs, particularly brown marmorated stink bugs, pose a significant threat to the agriculture industry, as they feed on crops causing discolouration and distortion known as “cat facing,” rendering them unsuitable for commercial processing.

When crushed or disturbed, these pests release a noxious odour that can trigger allergic reactions like rhinitis or conjunctivitis.

Stink bugs exhibit rapid reproductive rates, with females laying several hundred eggs during the summer. Their life cycle, from egg to adult, spans just five weeks, and under favourable conditions, they can generate up to four generations each year.

Prevention Tips To Keep Stink Bugs Out

  • Seal foundation cracks with caulk or a similar sealing material.
  • Replace damaged screens on windows and doors.
  • Consider trimming outdoor vegetation as this can discourage stink bugs from taking up residence in your yard and subsequently infiltrating your home.

Cluster Flies

Cluster fly on a leaf

Why Cluster Flies Are Expected To Trend

The milder winter of 2022 coupled with a return of pre-pandemic levels of commercial waste have created ideal conditions for cluster flies to feed on decomposing organic materials and other plants. With colder conditions forecasted for the winter of 2023, these pests will look to enter homes and businesses to survive the winter.

What Makes Cluster Flies Dangerous?

While cluster flies pose no harm to humans and do not reproduce within invaded homes, they are regarded as a nuisance primarily due to their collective hibernation habits. When spring arrives, these flies emerge en masse, forming clusters around windows.

Indoor warmth or unseasonably mild weather can disrupt their hibernation, prompting previously concealed cluster flies to become unexpectedly active. This often leads homeowners to observe these insects flying toward windows and light sources on warm winter days.

Moreover, the excrement left behind by hibernating cluster flies can leave stains on curtains and walls. When cluster flies perish during hibernation, they may attract larder beetles, which utilise the fly carcasses as a food source and may subsequently remain in the home.

Prevention Tips To Keep Cluster Flies Out

  • Sealing cracks and gaps on exterior walls, doorways, windowpanes, and overhangs.
  • Replace door and window screens with holes or tears.
  • Avoid keeping these entrances open for extended periods without adequate mesh screening.
  • If cluster flies are inside, use a shop vac to vacuum up these flies.
  • In attics or false ceilings, consider using an insect light trap to catch the flies as they emerge from a dormant-like state.


Do Skunks Climb

Why Wildlife Are Expected To Trend

The warmer, milder winter of 2022 led to a reduced natural population control of wildlife. Consequently, there was a surge in the wildlife populations, with abundant food resources that sustained feeding and breeding during the spring and summer. With the onset of winter, these pests will be actively seeking warm shelter to escape the cold and intensively foraging for food.

What Makes Wildlife Dangerous?

Urban wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks and squirrels, can become major pests when they make your property their home. These pests can cause structural damage, contaminate food, and devastate crop yields.

Wildlife can also cause severe health issues, transmitting serious diseases, and may attack humans and pets if they feel threatened. Skunk spray is so powerful it can cause skin irritation and blindness.

Prevention Tips To Keep Wildlife Out

  • Use outdoor tamper-resistant garbage cans.
  • Ensure garbage cans are stored at a distance from your home or business.
  • Remove bird feeders and pet food from outdoor areas.
  • Trim overhanging trees and shrubs to reduce potential entry points.
  • Implement both above and below-ground fences as protective barriers.
  • Seal any potential entry points and openings around your home.
  • Secure gaps beneath decks and porches.
  • Use visual or auditory repellents to deter wildlife from settling on your property.
  • Remove clutter from property to reduce foraging spots.
  • Remove and clean vegetables and fruit residue from garden, which can attract wildlife to property.


Cockroach traps

Why Cockroaches Are Expected To Trend

Outdoor cockroaches such as wood and dusky cockroaches thrive well outdoors in wooded areas and grasses while American and Oriental cockroaches are common in sewer and drainage systems, but when outdoor elements become extreme such as colder weather or flooding, these pests will look to see shelter indoors.

Colder winters control cockroach population naturally, however, milder winter temperatures as seen in 2022, allows for more cockroach populations to survive. These conditions created a larger population increase for cockroaches going into the summer of 2023.

Now, as we approach the colder months, these outdoor cockroaches are actively seeking shelter indoors  to evade the predicted harsh winter weather of 2023.

What Makes Cockroaches Dangerous?

Cockroaches not only contribute to unsanitary conditions but also present a range of health risks to humans. Consuming food contaminated by cockroaches can lead to food poisoning, while the presence of cockroach droppings can exacerbate health issues, especially for individuals with asthma.

These pests can also carry and transmit harmful bacteria, such as coliform, salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. They transfer these disease-causing particles from sources like garbage and sewers to your kitchen countertops, posing a potential health hazard.

Prevention Tips To Keep Cockroaches Out

  • Clean and vacuum the home regularly.
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers.
  • Make sure cupboards remain dry.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.
  • Seal crevices and openings in walls and floors.
  • Ensure door frames, and seals are properly fitted without any gaps.
  • Ensure door and window screens are not torn or with holes.
  • Reduce/eliminate clutter around building, especially leave and garden litter.
  • Ensure drains have screen to prevent entrance.
  • Contact a pest control professional for barrier treatments in order to prevent cockroaches from coming indoors.

European Firebugs

Close up of a European Firebug

Why European Firebugs Are Expected To Trend

The European firebug is native to Europe, but since 2017 these pests began expanding across the country. As a result of a milder winter in 2022, there has been a larger population that grew in the summer of 2023. Because these pests overwinter in warm spots, they are most likely to infest structures in larger numbers, creating the possibility of increased sightings.

What Makes European Firebugs Dangerous?

Though these insects are not known to cause any damage or transmit any pathogens, their tendency to gather in mass can be a nuisance and create anxiety for some. Firebugs release a pheromone that attracts other firebugs. Additionally, they produce alert pheromones, causing these gatherings to scatter in all directions when faced with a predator or other potential threat.

Prevention Tips To Keep European Firebugs Out

  • Clean and vacuum the home regularly.
  • Seal crevices and openings in walls and floors.
  • Install screens on vents and ensure door seals/sweeps are snug and well-fitted.
  • Declutter your yard to eliminate breeding and harbourage spots.

As the temperatures drop in the winter of 2023, these pests will be on the lookout for shelter and food, making your home or business an attractive target. By being on the lookout for these pest and following the tips above, you can ensure that pests are not trending inside your home or business. Remember that if you are seeing a large-scale pest infestation on your property, your local Orkin Pro is there to assist you. Contact your local Orkin Canada branch today to get started!

Remove pests from your home, and stop them from coming back

We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation estimate today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

Request a Free Home Estimate
Request a Free Business Consultation
Alice Sinia Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services

Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on November 6 2023.

Master of Science Degree in Pest Management (MSc.) – Simon Fraser University; BSc. (Hons) Biological Sciences (Entomology & Parasitology) – Makerere University; Advanced Level Certificate of Education – Trinity College; Ph.D. – University of Guelph)

With more than 20 years of experience, Alice is responsible for the management of the Orkin Canada Quality Assurance Laboratory located at our GTA Training Centre. She performs analytical entomology (investigates product adulteration using biochemical and comparative tissue methods), and provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients nationwide. In addition, Alice also prepares scientific reports for Orkin Canada clients, updates Orkin management on any changes or updates to any government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. Alice also performs quality assurance account compliance audits.

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Remove pests from your home, and stop them from coming back

We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation estimate today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.

Request a Free Home Estimate
Request a Free Business Consultation