Even though many troublesome bugs are more prevalent in the spring and summer, pests are still around in the winter months. Many pests overwinter (much like hibernation) within wall voids of humanmade structures such as residential homes and commercial buildings. Homes can be especially appealing to pests that aren’t equipped to handle the cold that New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania winters bring. Temperature controlled homes are ideal for pests including stink bugs, spiders, rodents, squirrels, boxelder bugs, and paper wasps. You might not even know that pests are in your home during the winter because of their uncanny ability to hide in undisturbed areas such as attics, basements, within wall voids, and amongst clutter.
What happens to bugs when it snows?
Mosquitoes, in particular, have developed a successful way to prevent dying off with the freezing temperatures in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during fall and winter. In the fall, adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water, then die when temperatures consistently stay below 50°F. The eggs remain dormant over the winter in a state of diapause that stops development to remain preserved. Mosquito eggs hatch when warm weather comes again, developing into the blood-sucking pests we so desperately hate to encounter.
Photo Credit: University of Rhode Island
Tick activity generally decreases in the fall and winter. However, it’s not really until the first frost that ticks become less of a threat. The blacklegged tick (the tick that carries Lyme disease) is an unfortunate exception to the rule. The dangerous blacklegged tick can survive until temperatures drop below freezing. By living beneath the snow on the unfrozen ground, ticks and come out on warmer winter days. This opens up the possibility for tick bites and disease transition to humans and pets spending time outdoors.
Winners and Losers
Ultimately, there are many common household pests that we don’t have to worry about as much in the winter. Some are much more closely attributed to heat and summer weather.
Stink Bugs- Wall voids and chimneys provide safe spaces for stink bugs to live throughout the winter. You may see an occasional stink bug in your living space if they become brave enough to venture away from those protected spaces.
Spiders- Basements and garages are especially susceptible to spider activity. Anywhere that has less foot traffic can be a haven for pests like spiders. Spider season is year-round.
Bed Bugs- Bed bugs don’t rely on outside temperature to thrive. They hitchhike from place to place, never living outdoors in the soil or in vegetation.
Rodents- Mice are the most notorious of any house pest that’s associated with winter activity. They follow air flow that’s coming in and out of your house, mainly around the foundation. That’s why basements are such common breeding grounds for mice.
Squirrels- Squirrels flock to attics to escape the cold weather. If you’re hearing scurrying and scratching during the day, squirrels could be to blame.
Paper Wasps- Although they are capable of living in attic spaces and wall voids during the winter, paper wasp activity virtually halts until the weather warms up.
Termites- Termites can still damage homes and commercial buildings during the winter. They are active year-round, with a focus on spring. Termite season isn’t necessarily in the winter, but the chances of an infestation is still prevalent.
Mosquitoes- Mosquito eggs can survive during the winter, but they will not hatch and bother humans until after the winter is over.
Ticks- Surviving under piles of leaves and among brush, ticks can survive throughout the cold months. However, tick season doesn’t begin until the spring.
Pictured Above: Termite Damage
Carpenter Bees- In our area, carpenter bee season is relatively short. In the spring, carpenter bees emerge and become active. Winter is not conducive to active carpenter bee infestations.
Cicada Killers- Cicada killer season is in the peak of the summer. During the winter, cicadas aren’t especially active. Because cicadas are their main food source as their name indicates, surviving in the winter is nearly impossible.
Mud Wasps- Mud wasps are generally not active in the winter. Much like carpenter bees, mud wasps are a spring pest. Once the summer winds down and cool fall air rolls in, mud wasps are nearly impossible to find.
How can I prevent winter pests from getting into my house?
To escape the cold and survive the winter, they find small openings in chimneys, cracks in the foundation of your home, and other spaces that aren’t properly sealed, to enter wall voids. This means you could potentially have hundreds of bugs in your walls, just waiting until spring comes to leave. When it warms up, they leave and go back outdoors. This is why you’ll see these pests mostly in fall and spring. For the most part, these pests are harmless and are more of a nuisance than anything else. By sealing up holes and repairing broken screens, vents, and windows, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of winter infestations.
How can Cooper Pest Solutions prevent pests from getting into my home this winter?
The best way to avoid a winter pest infestation is to stop them from coming in before the season begins. On-going pest prevention and control can target common winter pests such as spiders, rodents, and more.
The Home Intensive Plan is designed to provide preventive pest and rodent control for your home, year round. This is our most popular service for homeowners. The service plan includes four preventive services per year. Each service is unique and will be accompanied by a detailed 30-point inspection report with detailed findings as well as providing you with important recommendations for your home. Each year you will receive three exterior maintenance services (March – November) and one interior service (December – February). The winter service will focus on the interior of the structure and is geared towards rodents and other pests that may live within the structure.
Home Intensive & Home Traditional Plans are both available for purchase online! Schedule service online for contactless checkout and fast technician dispatch by clicking the button below.
The Home Traditional Plan is a substantial value for the homeowner that does not want to be bothered by crawling insects, mice, and wasps. The Home Traditional Plan provides preventive pest and rodent control for your home, year round. As part of your plan, you will receive four services per year. Each year you will receive three exterior maintenance services (March – November) and one interior service (December – February). There are some exclusions in the Home Traditional Plan when compared to the Home Intensive Plan.
If you experience recurring problems with mice, squirrels, or other rodents getting into your house, a permanent (and highly recommended) solution is available from Cooper Pest Solutions. Since rodents can squeeze into the tiniest of places, older home structures often have many gaps that rodents find very attractive, and this is how they enter your home. To learn more about Cooper’s Rodent Exclusion Services, click here.
For maximum coverage, Cooper’s Stink Bug Prevention Program is only available August 15th-September 30th. The goal is to provide service before the first frost. This service is not a reactive plan to eliminate current stink bug activity. The best way to avoid a residential stink bug infestation is to prevent them from entering before they arrive. To learn more about our Stink Bug Prevention Program, click here.
Call us or fill out the contact form on this page to speak with our specialists about winter pest prevention for your home!