When you think of pests, winter weather is not the first thing that comes to mind. You may be wondering, “Do bugs die in the winter?” Although we’d like to think they’re all dead and gone, not all pests disappear in the winter months. By preventing winter pests, you can enjoy a bug-free home all season long. In Pennsylvania in particular, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the following common household pests that stay active in the winter:
While it’s not possible to prevent all winter pests, you can take steps to prepare for potential infestations.
Silverfish are silver in color (like their name), and have a long carrot-shaped body shape with long antennae on their head and three tail-like appendages at the tip of their abdomen. Conditions in human made structures such as residential homes provide the environment silverfish need to thrive year-round. This includes wintertime when you may not be thinking about silverfish infestations.
Adult silverfish can cause considerable damage to items such as books, natural fibers, synthetic materials, magazines, and some other paper-based products. Silverfish also eat a wide array of items, including starch, flour, oats, glue, other insects, textiles and paste. Because they eat mold, persistent silverfish activity can be indicative of mold problems, water damage, or broken/leaking utility pipes.
Mice are always on the lookout for food, and these winter pests can be exceptionally creative in how they get what they want. Mice will take advantage of any tiny crack or crevice in your home, and could even chew through soft wood to gain entry. Mice have collapsible bodies and can fit through openings as small as a dime. This allows them to slip through small gaps around the foundation of your home and through broken vents, gaps around utility pipes, broken basement windows, and builder’s gaps where the roof meets the gutters. They follow warm air currents where heat escapes your home to find entry points.
Mice can also live just about anywhere inside your house, and it’s not uncommon for them to take up residence in the walls, attics, basements, garages, behind items in storage and even in pantries or drop ceilings. These creatures will also take whatever type of nesting material they can find, including dryer lint, foam, paper, or yarn. Nests are created where there is the least amount of human activity in the home. Nesting spots can be under dishwashers, in attics, within insulation, and under stoves. Mice will leave droppings everywhere that they travel, and they can reproduce very quickly by giving birth 5-10 times per year with a gestation period of 19-21 days.
Flea infestations begin when an animal brings them into the home. This can be a result of a pet or could be coming from a wild mammal like squirrels, raccoons, and feral cats. Flea activity in your home can also be a sign of a rodent or wildlife issue. A common hiding place for fleas is rugs and carpeting. According to Flea Science, 83% of fleas develop deep within home carpeting. They burrow into the fibers where they can avoid light and low levels of humidity. Once larvae become adults, they jump onto a passing host such as your dog, which is when you begin to see the infestation.
Just because your pets are spending more time inside doesn’t mean your home is immune to flea infestations in the winter. Fleas spend most of their time deep within your carpet, not on your dog. They can continue to live indoors long after your pet has brought them in, multiplying daily for several months on end. If the infestation is not taken care of by a pest management professional, fleas can stay indoors.
Spiders will enter homes through small spaces such as the cracks and crevices around the foundation. If you happen to live in a wooded area or have a garden near the base of your foundation, you can be more prone to having spider activity in your home since spiders are more prevalent in those types of environments. Spiders are attracted to areas that are damp or dark, such as basements or gutters, but you can still find them in dry, warm areas of your home.
Spiders are hardy pests that thrive in heated homes throughout the winter. Although the thought of spiders makes most people cringe, they are relatively harmless. Spiders found in homes are more scared of you than you are of them. They do not want to be disturbed which is why they make their webs or hide in areas of your home where foot traffic is low.
How to Get Rid of Winter Pests
The best way to prevent pests in your home during the winter is to eliminate potential food sources and seal up any cracks and crevices in and around your home. Follow these top tips to prevent winter pest infestations.
- Repair broken screening and windows
- Seal cracks and crevices located on the foundation of your home
- Replace or repair old and broken dryer vents, gable vents, and crawlspace vents
- Reduce the clutter in your attic and basement
- Sweep floors and wipe up crumbs on a regular basis
- Move food stored in cardboard (cereal or rice) or easily penetrable containers (sugar or flour bags) into air tight containers
By blocking pests from entering and creating an environment that is not suitable for their survival indoors, you can prevent winter pests from infesting your home.
Do you have winter pests in your home? We offer targeted one-time services as well as monthly and quarterly maintenance plans to meet your specific needs. If you suspect you have any of these pests in your home, or fill out the contact form on this page to set up a free no obligation inspection.