Cold winters bring pests indoors on hunt for warmth and shelter
As the temperatures drop it’s not just humans that seek shelter inside, pests do too.
You may notice pests including rodents and “strange bugs” in and around your home. These overwintering pests are looking for somewhere to survive the cold winter months.
Unfortunately for you and your family, pests — especially rats and mice — can choose to stay in your home for the season. But that doesn’t mean you have to let them in.
Rodents carry deadly diseases, can contaminate food, and can also cause damage by gnawing through electrical wiring and chewing holes in the structure of your home.
Even worse, they don’t need a large opening to get inside: rats can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter, while mice can get through a hole the size of your pinky.
To reduce their presence this winter:
- Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks or crevices.
- Seal openings with weather-resistant sealant reinforced with steel wool so rodents can’t gnaw through.
- Clean up the interior and vacuum regularly.
- Consider a thorough cleaning of your home during the winter – you don’t have to wait until spring.
Cockroaches prefer to live in warm temperatures, so when the weather gets colder, they seek shelter in homes. Basements, bathrooms, greenhouses, kitchens, and rooms containing sewer pipes or plumbing make ideal habitats for cockroaches.
To stop cockroaches invading this winter:
- Clean and vacuum regularly.
- Store food in tightly-sealed containers.
- Make sure cupboards remain dry.
- Seal crevices and openings in walls and floors.
- Fix any leaky faucets and cracks in the plumbing, and use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture.
In winter, spiders are also looking for somewhere warm to shelter. They tend to build webs in dark, moist environments like basements, garages, and corners of rooms, gaining entry through cracks and crevices in your home.
To prevent a spider infestation:
- Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s exterior.
- Replace broken window and door screens.
- Keep your home clean and free of insects.
- Keep rooms well ventilated.
- If you do see spider webs, remove them.
Flies enter homes looking for somewhere to hibernate as winter approaches.
They do not pose a danger to humans and do not breed in the homes they invade, but they are widely regarded as a nuisance, especially as they usually hibernate en masse. When they collectively emerge in the spring, it produces swarms that gather around windows.
To prevent a mass invasion of flies this winter:
- Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s outer walls.
- Vacuum up any flies you find and use insect light traps to capture them.
Asian Lady Beetles – commonly known as Ladybugs – and Stink Bugs are the two most common beetles that might enter your home this winter looking for shelter.
In the home, ladybugs are a nuisance and secrete a foul-smelling yellow liquid that can stain surfaces. Ladybugs can also gather in overwhelming numbers and you may find piles of dead beetles collected in light fixtures and around windows.
Meanwhile, when stink bugs are crushed underfoot or disturbed, they emit a foul odour, which can trigger allergic reactions like rhinitis or conjunctivitis.
To keep these beetles away from your home this winter:
- Seal any cracks and crevices in the foundations.
- Repair any damaged door and window screens.
- Check siding, utility pipes, and chimneys.
- Trim back outdoor vegetation.
In the summer, Boxelder Bugs, also known as Maple Bugs, suck the sap out of seed pods, but in the winter, they head indoors, seeking warmth inside barns and sheds, or around window casements.
Boxelder bugs are a nuisance on their own. Dead bugs can also attract other insects, such as carpet beetles.
To prevent boxelder bugs entering your home this winter:
- Seal any gaps around your home’s foundations.
- Repair door and window screens, and cover open vents.
- Replace any female boxelder trees you have with males.
- Vacuum up any boxelder bugs you find.
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