Ah, winter. Not all of us love the colder temperatures, or the snow and ice, but most of us enjoy a respite from all the bugs. Except, not all the bugs actually die off or leave our homes during the winter months. Insects are cold-blooded creatures, which means they need to avoid freezing temperatures in order to survive. So where do they go?
Insects have a variety of strategies to survive winter. Some bugs hibernate, others migrate to warmer climates. Some bugs time their reproduction in order to leave cold-hardy eggs or pupae, others adapt by producing their own anti-freeze!
Let’s take a look at the insects in our area, the mid-Atlantic and Southern coast of the US, and discuss strategies to prevent problems over the winter.
Ants and Termites:
Both ants and termites are social creatures who hibernate in large groups or nests over the winter. They usually burrow deep underground to avoid the freezing temperatures, then re-emerge in the spring. The late spring is a great time to schedule your annual termite inspection.
Wasps and Flies:
Wasps and flies also hibernate. Bug hibernation is known as “diapause,” which means they enter into a phase of arrested development. Wasps and flies like to find sheltering places in homes, such as in attics and roof eaves. A professional pest control company can inspect your home for hibernating bugs like these.
Most mosquitoes are not active or biting when temperatures fall below 50 degrees. Mosquitoes survive by laying eggs in the fall, which will hatch in the spring. Most adult mosquitoes in our area do die in the winter and it’s their offspring that bother us when warm weather returns. Remember to regularly eliminate all standing water in your yard when the snow melts and spring rains begin, as this will help control the mosquito population.
Roaches tend to survive winter in our area. However, they need a warm place to shelter and reproduce. Unfortunately, cockroaches see our homes as a great winter vacation spot. They will invade any dark area, such as inside walls, that allows access to food and water. Clutter control and keeping a very clean kitchen will go a long way towards discouraging roaches from invading your living area during the winter.
If you don’t want bugs hanging out at your house this winter, try these tips to safeguard your home and family:
- Closely monitor dark areas that may have food particles, such as the pantry. Promptly clean up crumbs, and don’t leave dirty dishes or food debris around.
- Also monitor humid areas of your home, such as the bathroom. Some bugs will actually over-winter in drains! Promptly fix any leaking faucets and eliminate standing water.
- Do regular checks of your basement and attic for any nests, fecal matter, or other signs of insect activity.
- Continue regular pest control spraying or treatment, preferably by a professional pest control company. Make sure the entire perimeter of your home is treated at least quarterly. Don’t be tempted to skip the winter treatment, you’ll end up with more bug activity in the spring.
You can have a bug infestation in the winter! If you have a bug issue or want an inspection, please call the pros at ProForce Pest Control in Raleigh at 919-776-3672 . We serve the Triangle area of North Carolina.
From all of us at ProForce, Happy Holidays!