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Overwintering pests are a group of insect species that sleep throughout the winter months. The insect species spend the biggest part of the fall preparing to overwinter. The natural process allows the insects to reduce their heartbeat, metabolism, and respiration. They feed on stored nutrients to eliminate the need to forage for food.
Since overwintering pests spend several months in the harshest environment, they need special hypothermia protection. The extra protection is glycerol, which works in a similar manner as antifreeze. Before overwintering kicks in, the pests fill their body with glycerol. When the freezing temperatures set in, the glycerol keeps the insects warm.
Common Overwintering Pests In The United States
There are dozens of pests that overwinter. Each pest has unique physical characteristics. They all prepare to enter the overwintering state by searching for warm shelter. This is how overwintering pests end up invading commercial and residential buildings.
To avoid the winter weather, the overwintering pests try to invade homes through tiny cracks, crevices, plumbing pipe passages, and open doors and windows.
Boxelder Bug (Box Elder Bug)
The boxelder bug can easily be identified by its unique coloration. The wings are black with a bright red outline. The legs are elbow-shaped to allow the insects to crawl and walk on walls, ceilings, and rough surfaces.
The legs, abdomen, and antennas are solid black. The antennas help locate food, shelter, light, moisture, warmth, and cold.
The adult grows up to 0.5 inches in length. Fortunately for people who come into contact with boxelder bugs, stings are never a risk. They do not spread disease. Their most obtrusive feature is a foul odor due to the secretion produced by the abdominal glands.
Lady Bug (Asian Lady Beetle, Ladybug)
The ladybug is another common overwintering pest. The tiny insect appears to be carrying around a shell similar to a turtle or tortoise. The oval-shaped body is covered with elytra, a rare set of wings. The wings are protected with a shell-like material.
The ladybug is very easy to identify, thanks to its orange, red, or yellow wings layered with tiny black spots.
Like the boxelder bug, the ladybug generates a foul secretion, which wards off predatory insects and animals.
The cluster fly is similar to the common housefly, with one major exception. The housefly spreads diseases like malaria, anthrax, salmonella, E. coli, and tuberculosis. The cluster fly, on the other hand, does not spread disease.
At first glance, the cluster fly may be mistaken for a common housefly. Of the two species, the cluster fly is the largest, measuring around 7 millimeters in length. The housefly grows between 3 and 6 millimeters long.
The body is black or dark gray with tiny golden hairs. The transparent wings overlap the body.
Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug
The leaf-footed pine seed bug grows up to 0.75 inches in length. The body, antennas, and elbow-shaped legs are dark brown. The diet consists of cones and seeds from the pine tree.
The insects find their way inside homes through damaged attic and basement vents, garage door seals, windowsills, and entrance door thresholds. They can be seen clustered together in preparation for overwintering.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB”
The BMSB species generates a foul odor similar to that of the ladybug and boxelder bug. The foul odor protects the insects from predatory insects and animals.
The body, elbow-shaped legs, and antennas are marbled or marmorated in color. The body is shaped like a shield.
The insects originate from Asia, making their way to the United States in 1998. Stink bugs are more commonly seen starting in mid-fall. This is when the insect begins preparing to enter the overwintering. Since the insect is not so fond of winter weather, it spends the biggest portion of the fall season searching for a vulnerable home.
Never crush stink bugs or you will reap the consequences, a pungent odor.
Possible Signs Of Overwintering Pests
You’re likely wondering if overwintering pests are in your home. Surprisingly, it isn’t difficult to know. You’ll find that these pests are going to enter your home and find a place to hide. They can be found hiding on walls, windows, doors, and small cracks. Start by searching your home for overwintering pests. If you find a few bugs, there are likely many more hiding in your home. You’ll also want to use your heat to find out what is going on. Remember that overwintering pests want to hide in your home during the cold months.
When it gets hot, they’re going to return outside. Turn on your heater to make your home warm. Doing this will convince the bugs to come out of hiding so you can verify the infestation.
Preventing Invasions Of Overwintering Pests
It is often very difficult to keep overwintering pests out of your home. The problem is that these bugs have to find shelter to survive during the cold winter months. If they can enter your home, you can guarantee that they’re going to stay there. Even worse is the fact that more overwintering pests are going to come. They’ll also return next year. Suffice to say, you should take steps to keep them out. Preventing overwintering pests isn’t easy since they can slip through the smallest holes.
Still, you should check your home for small entry points. Seal these spots to prevent these bugs from entering your home. You’ll also want to use the advice below to stop invasions of overwintering pests.
Check For Small Gaps And Openings
When you begin searching your home for entry points, you need to look for the smallest holes. For instance, you should check your screens. Any damaged screens should be replaced. You’ll also want to check for small entry sites around doors and windows. Seal all small gaps to keep these pests out.
Consider Protective Barrier Treatments
You should consider talking to your exterminator about protective exterior barrier treatments. These solutions are very helpful for keeping overwintering pests away from your home. The residual exterior treatments work great for defending your home. Be sure to let a professional install the protective barrier because DIY methods are not as effective. These industrial-strength products are going to work better and last much longer.
Skip the over-the-counter solutions and call our office to get professional solutions.
Checking Your Home For Overwintering Pest Entry Points
Mortar And Bricks
Having bricks is highly recommended. Bricks are very durable and insulating. The only downside is that you might have small gaps around your home. If you look at the top of your bricks, you may find small holes. It is common for this to happen when the molding or siding touches the bricks. There will be a small gap near the mortar. You must fill these gaps. Since the material may change throughout the year, you should use sealant to block this entry point.
Around Your Windows
You must also check around your windows. When building a home or installing new windows, it is common for the professional to caulk the top and sides of your windows. They may leave the bottom portion untouched. Unfortunately, this means that bugs will be able to enter your home using this entry point. Caulk the bottom portion of your windows to keep overwintering pests out.
Clapboard And Fascia
If you look near the top of your home, you’ll find fascia boards and wooden clapboard. While this is good for specific purposes, you might have a problem here. There could be a small gap. You must seal this gap to prevent bugs from entering your home. It is wise to purchase a foam insulating cord because it works great here.
Check Your Vents
You need to check your vents. Be sure to look at the vents near your attic. You may find that the old screen is ripped or torn. Unfortunately, this means that pantry pests are going to find a way inside. Replace the screen to keep these pests out. Check all vents to ensure that pests cannot get inside through these entry points.
Openings For Utility Lines
Your home likely has multiple openings for utility lines. Although you cannot eliminate these vents, you will need to protect them. For instance, you can likely make the hole smaller by caulking around it. Alternatively, you can put a new screen over the vent to ensure that bugs cannot slip through the cracks. You can use several techniques to get this done. For instance, you might be able to stuff long gaps using insulation. You can also use pot scrubbers because they’ll fit into small gaps.
First, you should find out more about the utility openings around your home. Once you’ve done that, you can find out which methods are going to work best for you. Protecting your home now can prevent pests from entering your home this winter.
Using Good Exclusion Materials
You must make sure that you’re using the best exclusion materials so you can keep those pesky pests out of your home. Although there are other solutions, keeping them out is best. If you manage to accomplish this, you won’t have to worry about hiring an exterminator to get rid of them. Pest-proofing products can help protect your home. These materials are going to block entry points so overwintering pests cannot find a way to enter your home.
Caulks And Sealants
You’ll need to use caulks and sealants to protect your home from overwintering pests. Which one is best for you? Ultimately, it depends on the type of service you’re dealing with. If the surface isn’t going to move, you can use a high-quality caulk. If the surface will change due to the weather, consider using a good sealant instead.
Materials For Keeping Overwintering Pests Out
Before winter, you should take steps to protect your home from overwintering pests. Thankfully, there are various materials that can help you achieve this goal. The materials will be used to pest-proof your residence. For instance, you can start by using foam insulation. The material is flexible so it can be used to seal long gaps. You may be tempted to use foam spray, but you shouldn’t because it is too difficult to remove. You’ll also want to use aluminum screening because it is an inexpensive solution.
It can be twisted to fit small gaps or long ones. Hardware cloth is beneficial for blocking certain holes too. Finally, don’t forget to use pot scrubbers. The used ones tend to work better because you can squeeze them into the smallest holes. If you’d like to take advantage of our services, call our office right now. We’re ready to begin helping you.
Our Overwintering Pest Control
Our pest management services are ideal for homes infested with overwintering pests. We offer free home pest inspections with written quotes. When you get tired of dealing with pesky overwintering pests, give us a call.
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