The warmth and humidity during spring and summer make these seasons the peak times of year for pest activity. However, that doesn’t mean we can expect a complete break from pests during fall and winter. As the weather gets colder, many pests start looking for shelter indoors.
Here are seven typical pests that may try to overwinter in your home this season.
1. Mice and Rats
Rodents invade human homes for a few different reasons. For one, they’re trying to seek shelter from the cold. Also, they can gather a variety of nesting materials by shredding insulation, papers, clothing, and upholstery. Furthermore, rats and mice have a harder time finding seeds and grains to eat during cold weather, so stealing from the pantry, garbage, or pet food bowl is an easy way for them to avoid starvation.
If you live in the American West, South, and Southwest, you may have this predatory arachnid to contend with. Scorpions tend to hibernate during winter, so first, they’ll look for a warm, dark place where they can rest undisturbed. It isn’t uncommon to find a scorpion hunkering down for winter under a sink, in a secluded corner of a closet or garage, or even inside of a shoe.
Earwigs (also known as “pincher bugs”) are harmless, for the most part. They don’t bite people, and they only pinch with their pincers when provoked. Earwigs typically feed on decaying plant matter, preferring that over live plants, so they rarely cause property damage. However, a massive invasion of earwigs in your home can be a nuisance, and it can indicate that your home might have a problem with excess humidity or a plumbing leak (things that attract earwigs).
Cockroaches: if you see one, you know there are definitely more. Not only are these bugs unsettling to look at, but their saliva, waste, and discarded skins can also spread disease and trigger allergies and asthma.
These hardy insects can live for an entire month without food, although they won’t survive for more than a week without water. This is why you’ll typically find roaches in your home’s wettest or muggiest areas, like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
At some point, when the temperature drops low enough, ticks will become inactive. The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) has the highest cold tolerance and doesn’t start slowing down until the temperature falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, ticks can remain active in the warmth of a temperature-controlled human home, especially if they find a host to feed on. After coming from walks through brush and bushes, always check your clothes thoroughly for any tick hitchhikers. If you own pets that spend time outdoors, be sure to keep up their tick protection year-round.
“Ant season” may be over, but if a colony has sought shelter from the cold inside your home, you could have these bugs invading your kitchen all winter long. To prevent this issue, it’s best to avoid things that will attract ants in the first place.
Always make sure to wipe your kitchen down after each meal, sweep up crumbs, and wash dishes right away. Routinely taking out the trash, and you keep your recyclables indoors, make sure you wash them to clean off any food or drink residue.
Silverfish may look harmless, but they can chew holes in important documents, old photos, wallpaper, food packaging, and clothing. This is because they get nutrients from cellulose, which is contained in plant-based materials. Silverfish prefer muggy environments, so it’s best to take care of any humidity issues or plumbing leaks that might attract these insects.