Summer is the season most people associate with indoor pests. But there are insects and rodents that are more likely to invade homes during the winter than the summer. From mice and yellow jackets to fruit flies and raccoons, here are the most common cool weather pests and how to get rid of them.
Rodents like rats and mice head indoors when the cold weather hits. These rodents set up shop in walls, pantries, attics, and closets. You can tell you have a mice or rat infestation by the droppings and chew marks they leave in their wake. Rodents pose a health hazard and can cause serious damage to your home by chewing through walls and electrical wires. You can prevent mice and rats from entering your home by sealing all exterior gaps and openings. You can also set up traps around the house just in case they get inside.
Ants have been known to migrate indoors once the colder weather arrives. These tiny critters can build new homes inside walls or under foundations. Common ants that come inside include pavement ants and odorous house ants. These types of ants are difficult to eradicate once they take hold, so you may need professional help to get rid of them.
All kinds of bugs seek shelter indoors to avoid the harsh winter weather. This includes lady beetles, stink bugs, and box elders. These bugs come indoors to find areas to live in until the weather warms up. The best way to get rid of these bugs is to prevent them from coming inside in the first place. It is usually recommended to treat your home in the summer or early fall to guard against a bug invasion. You should also keep the perimeter of your house free of wood piles, which can be a major hub for bugs.
Fruit flies, cluster flies, and house flies all come indoors during the winter. Flies are particularly drawn to west and south facing exterior walls. If the flies have come inside, you may not notice them until a warm day hits, which usually brings them out of their wintering hole. The only way to combat flies is to make sure they stay outside. Ensure all windows have proper screens and avoid leaving exterior doors open for long periods of time. You can also install fly traps around the house if the infestation is getting out of control.
Some varieties of stinging insects seek out warm places to survive the winter months. Wasps, yellow jackets, and bees are known to ride out the cold weather in attics, garages, and sheds. If you discover a wasp or yellow jacket nest inside your home, proceed with caution. These stinging insects can be more aggressive in the winter. You can keep them from nesting inside your home by sealing the attic, garage, and outdoor buildings.
Raccoons are common cold weather pests in wooded areas of the country, such as eastern states. Raccoons usually gain access through chimneys or attics. These pests come indoors in search of warm places to den. Along with carrying annoying parasites like fleas, raccoons are aggressive and a big source of rabies. You can help prevent raccoons from entering your home by keeping trash cans tightly sealed. Also examine the outside of your home for areas where raccoons can slip inside. Keep a close eye on broken siding pieces and vent covers.
Cockroaches are attracted to houses whenever food and moisture are present. These pests can enter the home through shipping boxes, grocery bags, and gaps in exterior walls. The biggest issues with cockroaches are their ability to contaminate food and transmit harmful bacteria. You can combat cockroaches by keeping your house free of food crumbs and debris. You should also keep tabs on excess water, especially underneath sinks and appliances. If you eliminate water and food sources, cockroaches will not stick around for long.