Just like humans, insects are susceptible to the cold and try to avoid it any way they can. And just like most animals, they have a plan to stay safe and warm during the winter months. Some bugs burrow deep into the ground, others make cocoons to hibernate in, but some choose an easier route and hole up in an already-made shelter—your house.
Insects are pretty smart, and can find their way inside your home in a lot of different ways. We’ve made a list of the bugs you should look out for this winter. Keep reading!
Winter Pests to Watch For
You’re probably used to seeing ants and active ant beds during the warm months only, but it’s important to know that ants are extremely in tune with the outside temperatures—that means that, when outside, they stay dormant during the winter. If they make it inside, however, they’ll remain as active as they usually are in spring and summer.
It’s a very common misconception that mosquitoes die off during the fall in winter, but unfortunately that’s not true. Many mosquito species survive in the winter by finding warm spots in a wall cavity inside your home. They typically hibernate when the temperature drops below 50 degrees, which means your toasty warm home is perfect for them to stay active.
Wasps rarely get inside your home—instead, they find spots along the exterior of your home to stay warm during the winter. The eaves and overhangs of your house, where you’ll usually find nests during the summer, are perfect places for them to camp out. Yellowjackets are very similar. They’ll find a warm spot around your house for their fertilized queen to survive the winter, so she can restart the colony in the spring.
One of the most persistent and common overwintering bugs is ladybugs. They’ll seek warm spots in large numbers and huddle together to stay warm. They’re pretty good about finding small cracks around windows and doorways, and if you see one in your home, there will surely be more to follow.
Elm leaf beetles are very sneaky insects, and like all the tiny and tucked away spots in your attic and wall cavities. Finding one of these spots is the only way adult elm leaf beetles can survive the winter, so they’re very determined. Look out for boxelder beetles and conifer seed bugs too, because they’re very similar. A “true” bug is a bug that can’t survive the winter without adequate shelter.
Stink bugs are not the visitors you want for the holidays. They’ll often make a mess on your exterior walls during other parts of the year, but as it gets colder outside, they’ll start looking for a warmer spot inside your home. They’re actually the most prominent inside in the fall, as they make their way into shelter in hordes.
Cluster flies are another type of insect that most people assume die off in the winter months. While you’ll see them active more often in the summer, if they find a way inside, they’ll be just as active in your warm home!
Mourning cloak butterflies are one of the few butterfly species that overwinter inside homes. Many people think they die off or head south for the winter, but they rely on “antifreeze” chemicals in their blood that helps them survive the cold. They will still seek out warm, protective places like rock crevices, under bark, in a woodpile, or inside your house.
A lot of spiders are already used to living indoors, where they thrive all year long. While a lot of bugs hibernate during the winter—whether or not they’re inside—spiders will stay active if they make it inside your home. They can even be more active than usual if they have more bugs to feast on inside.
If you have houseplants, you’ll most likely bring them inside your house when it gets cold—that’s a perfect opportunity for subtropical insects like whiteflies to hitch a ride inside! Waiting out the winter in houseplants or a greenhouse is very common for these bugs, who can’t survive outside when the temperature drops.
What to Do About Them
Especially in a relatively warm climate like Alabama, year round pest control is the best way to protect you and your home from any kind of infestation. They might seem harmless and dormant during the winter, but when spring rolls around they can wreak havoc on your home. If you’ve noticed any insects in your home, get them taken care of before they become active.
Have a bug problem? Vulcan Termite & Pest Control can solve it. Give us a call today.