Overwintering Insects

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In a matter of weeks, we’ll be relieved from swatting away mosquitoes during backyard barbeques. But that only means a new pest threat is ready to rear its head — pest management professionals know that overwintering insects and pests will be searching for ways to enter homes and buildings, seeking shelter to wait out the cold winter months.

As these pests look for harborage points that remind them of shelters found in nature — think cracks in cliff faces, openings in trees, underneath tree bark, etc. — their goal is to find warmth. This means they generally can be found on the southeast side of a house or building, which generally tends to be warmer. They can enter a structure through gaps and cracks around windows or doors, and where siding meets the foundation or roof. Attics and chimneys are notorious for being access points for all sorts of pests, from mammals to overwintering insects. What follows is an overview of the typical pests found in homes during the fall and winter months, and some tips to keep them at bay.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs.

For homeowners, they often invade the living space, a few at a time, throughout the fall. True to their name, the bugs cause an unpleasant odor when threatened or crushed.

Boxelder Bugs.

Often, in late spring and summer, people will see large clumps of the boxelder bug nymphs under potted plants, beneath gutters, under flashing, in umbrellas and within other tight areas in the yard. Generally, boxelder bugs stay within a few blocks of their overwintering site, but they may travel as far as two miles.

Asian Lady Beetle.

They feed on aphids and scale insects, so controlling aphids or scales in the immediate area may help prevent a larger population.

Cluster Flies.

Cluster flies are large, slow flies that are often seen along windows in the spring, attempting to exit a structure. Often, people do not realize that cluster flies have taken up residence for the winter until their reemergence in the spring Cluster flies are attracted to light when the temperature is above 50°F, and are conversely attracted to dark areas and other flies when the temperature is below 50°F.

How to Pest Proof:

  • While these insects typically do not cause structural damage, they are generally considered a nuisance — and providing a pest-free home or work environment is the goal for PMPs. Here are some prevention tips to remember when implementing an IPM approach:
  • Before the winter months approach, seal gaps around windows and doors, including garage doors. The best time for this is during the summer after pests have left their overwintering site, and before they come back for the next season.
  • Be sure screens on windows are in good repair and do not have any openings.
  • Look for areas where pipes and electrical or cable lines enter the building. Gaps around these areas should be sealed.
  • Look for openings around soffits, eaves, attic fans, windows and vents in the attic used for ventilation. Many times these areas are not screened, allowing overwintering pests inside.
  • Inspect chimneys. Be sure the damper is closed when not in use, and know that if you’re dealing with a wood-burning fireplace, lighting a fire may discourage the insects using the chimney as an entry point.
  • Vacuuming is the best way to eliminate the insects once they are inside.
  • Tell customers that using “bombs” to treat the inside of a house can backfire — they may end up with dead insects still inside the walls, which then attract secondary pests, such as carpet beetles.

Exterior treatments around the exterior of the home may reduce the population of these overwintering pests, but they will not eliminate them completely. Taking the above proactive steps can reduce the presence of overwintering pests and will position you to be better prepared to combat pests when temperatures warm. A little work in advance can go a long way to stop these fall invaders. If overwintering pests like asian lady beetles, boxelder beetles, cluster flies, rodents and stink bugs are waking up this spring, try our tips above or contact Saratoga NY pest control company. If your Chatham NY home requires cluster fly removal or stink bug removal contact Thomas Pest Services for a no charge consultation today!


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