When winter’s chill hits and the grass gets covered in a blanket of snow and ice, most of us head indoors to cuddle up under blankets of a different kind. You aren’t the only ones using your house as a shelter from the cold, though—the winter season is prime-time for a variety of pests to make their way indoors.
Have you fallen prey to the false belief that pests are only a problem during spring and summer? If so, it’s time to put together a winter home pest control plan to keep your house free of unwanted guests all year long.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the most common winter pests in the eastern United States. Read on to learn what kinds of infestations you might see this season and what you can do to fight them.
They may be cute and furry, but rodents don’t make good renters. These animals love to squeeze in through gaps in your roof, walls, and foundation to make a nest out of your insulation or stored belongings. Not only can they chew through walls and electrical cords, but they can also spread diseases when they look for food in the kitchen.
Some types of rodents that might break into your home before it snows include:
- house mice
- tree squirrels
Even larger rodents, like groundhogs and rabbits, may dig their burrows beneath the foundation of your house, garage, or shed. You can try to use humane traps to get rid of them yourself. Keep in mind that because one mouse quickly turns into an entire mischief due to rapid breeding, you might want to have a pest control inspector make sure there aren’t any stragglers still hiding in your walls.
No winter pest control plan is complete without a moth prevention strategy. These cousins of butterflies are harmless to humans, but they can do some serious damage to the items in your closet or storeroom.
The best ways to keep them out are to store fabrics in sealed plastic bags, use mothballs, and vacuum drawers and closets regularly. If you find moth eggs or larvae hiding somewhere, get rid of them and scrub the area thoroughly with white vinegar. You can also call your local pest control service to deal with a larger infestation.
Spiders are one of the winter pests in your home that you’re probably most keen on getting rid of. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that spiders don’t move into your house during the winter—they likely hatched there earlier in the year and are just starting to emerge.
Keeping spiders out of your home isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Install a dehumidifier and try to keep your house free of clutter or piles of fabric like clothes and blankets, as these are their favorite places to hide. It’s also important to keep other pests like flies and mites under control so that the spiders don’t have an easily available food source.
German cockroaches are one of the most prevalent and troublesome winter pests in America. The ones that stay outdoors enter a state of partial dormancy or die off during the colder months, but the ones that find their way inside can stay active all year long.
Because they reproduce so rapidly, cockroach infestations are extremely difficult to get rid of with DIY methods. Save yourself the time, money, and trouble by calling in a pest control expert at the first sign of a cockroach.
Brown marmorated stink bugs are an invasive species that hitchhiked their way to America from various parts of Asia. Reports from the National Invasive Species Information Center show thousands of positive sightings across the east coast and other parts of the US.
If you see a brown marmorated stink bug in your house during the winter, it isn’t just passing through. These insects prefer to find a warm, dry, sunny place to overwinter until they emerge again in April. Thankfully, they won’t bite or cause damage to your belongings.
While stink bugs are sluggish and easy to catch while they’re in their partially dormant stage, squishing them one-by-one releases a foul odor and likely won’t make a real dent in the problem. Calling an exterminator is your best bet if you notice a lot of them, but as with other pests, prevention is the best cure. Seal interior and exterior cracks and install screens in exterior vents to keep them out.
Silverfish and their darker-colored cousins, Firebrats, are moisture- and temperature-sensitive. These wingless insects can only live in areas with an average humidity of 75-90% and a temperature of 70-80° Fahrenheit (like your house).
Silverfish love to eat starches, natural fibers, and even synthetic fibers. You can find them most often munching on the pages of your favorite books, your stash of flour, and the carpet in humid rooms.
Trying to kill individual silverfish is pointless. These insects are so small and inconspicuous that you may not even notice their presence until they’ve already done significant damage.
If you think you have a silverfish infestation, set out an index card covered in a thin, dried paste of flour and water. Leave it in place for a week and watch for scratches in the dried paste, notches chewed out of the paper, or the bugs themselves. Call an exterminator if you notice these signs.
Do You Have a Home Pest Control Strategy in Place for Winter?
Staying aware of potential winter pests can help you keep your home free of intruders. The best weapon you have against infestations, though, is a reliable home pest control company.
If you’re looking for professional pest services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, get in touch with Pointe Pest Control. From mice to millipedes, we have the tools and experience to get rid of any and all unwanted guests in your house. Give one of our offices a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free inspection today.