Top Bugs and Insects You Might Find in Your Home This Winter
To quote US Magazine: Bugs! They’re just like us! Okay, maybe they’re not frequenting the Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard but they want to stay alive just as much as us, and winter is coming.
It turns out insects and other pests do a lot of weird things to stay alive when it gets cold. Like the snowbirds, they head south to warmer climates. Some of the freakier ones go dormant in a stage called “diapause,” a form of deep sleep where they essentially go into a coma until it’s warm again. Some odd insects like beetles even replace the water molecules in their cells with a substance called glycerol, which is essentially a form of anti-freeze that protects them from cold.
We salute those winter warriors for finding ways to adapt and evolve to their native environments. It’s the creepy crawlers who invade our homes for seasonal warmth that creep us out. A lot of insects simply find a home away from home in attics, basements, and wall voids, where they can reproduce and cluster in large masses, causing homeowners a major pest control problem if they’re not caught quickly. Here are a few of the creepy crawlers that might invade your home this winter.
There may be no more persistent a pest than the common cockroach. Turns out the little creepy buggers can’t survive temperatures less than 15° F, so they inevitably move indoors to stay warm. These guys are going to congregate in crawlspaces but don’t be surprised if you wander out for a glass of milk in the middle of the night to find them searching your kitchen for food. Ick.
Spiders are pretty controllable if you knock down their webs where they’re becoming a pest and they can even be a benefit in the garden where they eat other pestilent insects. But don’t be surprised if they move indoors when temperatures drop below freezing, and some venomous spiders, such as black widows and brown recluses, can be incredibly dangerous to humans in the event of a bite. Vacuuming and using pesticides can mitigate the risk, but keep in mind that spiders can become very inactive during winter months and may appear as a surprise in the depths of a cold snap. Because of the potential danger to children, if you notice dangerous species of spiders, you should have them checked out by a professional immediately.
Ants usually tunnel underground to avoid cold ambient temperatures but once they infest a house, they can be a truculent problem to eliminate. They’re attracted to food that’s left out, especially fruit and sometimes house plants, so keep an eye out and act if you see them. Weirdly, ants are particularly dismayed by peppermint oil, so putting a few drops around the kitchen can help get rid of these creepy crawlers.
Believing termites to be strictly hot-weather pests, many homeowners let their guards down during winter months, especially in milder climates like California where you’ll see a plethora of pest-control tents go up in the so-called wintertime. It’s worth knowing that some classes of termites are known to swarm during fall months and reproduce in homes until spring. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and widespread termite in the U.S., causing more than $5 billion in property damage annually.
Stinkbugs (Halyomorpha halys) came to the U.S. by accident some 20 years ago and have become a persistent nuisance in more than 30 states throughout the country. They come to a region, particularly the Mid-Atlantic, to feed on crops but then enter local homes to survive the winter. Homeowners who are decorating porches with pumpkins right now should be especially mindful, because stinkbugs love to snack on pumpkin juice.
We hope this article has helped you identify the bugs in your home. If you are smelling anything funny in your home, make sure to check out our article on the Top 5 Smells To Be Concerned About In Your Home.
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