During the cold winter months of December, January and February, your home can unknowingly play host to several pests that remain indoors to wait out the freezing temperatures outside. This AmeriSpec blog will reveal some of the most common intruders and how winter pest control can help protect your home.
Why do pests invade homes during winter?
Pests invade our homes in winter because they’re searching for warmth, shelter, and food. These are all things that the common household can provide. Since most pest species can’t survive Canada’s freezing winter temperatures outside, your home provides them a comfortable refuge. Inside, pests will stay dormant throughout winter before emerging in spring when the temperatures rise again.
Winter pest control and how it can protect your home
It’s popularly believed that winter pest control is a waste of money. Oftentimes, homeowners believe this is when everything goes dormant and that pest control efforts should be saved for spring and summertime. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why winter pest control is a good investment. Here’s five for starters.
- Wall dwelling pests like ants and cockroaches are unaffected by cold winter weather
- Attics can provide a secluded winter refuge away from people
- Rodents like mice and rats are common winter intruders
- Carpenter ants and termites can eat away at indoor wood unknowingly
- Winter pest control can help reduce and prevent spring pest intrusions
What kinds of pests are commonly found indoors during winter?
A wide variety of pests can seek refuge in your home in winter, but here are five of the most common rent-free guests.
Besides fleeing from cold winter weather, ants are also attracted indoors by food and water sources. Dirty dishes, dropped crumbs, countertop food residue, and ripe fruit and vegetables are like an oasis to these tiny intruders. Immediately clearing plates after dinnertime, sweeping away crumbs, and soaking up spills can all help prevent ants.
Homeowners should also be aware of carpenter ants too. Mainly black but sometimes solid red or brown, this ant species love destroying wood indoors. While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they do eat away at it to create galleries for their nesting areas. In large numbers, this can take place unknowingly and considering these pests are already inside your home, they’re immune from the cold and deadly weather outside.
More of an annoyance than a legitimate threat, bed bugs are notoriously tough to remove once they’ve made themselves comfortable. A pest that can multiply rapidly, large bed bug infestations can cause itching and allergic reactions, and the best form of winter pest control against them is prevention.
To guard against bed bugs, homeowners can regularly vacuum their mattress, eliminate clutter, wash and dry clothes at high temperatures, and carefully stow away their luggage on vacation. The latter point is very important because bed bugs love hitching a ride by attaching themselves to our belongings.
In Canada, any cockroaches remaining outdoors typically die when temperatures reach 10°C. That’s why roaches seek refuge indoors during fall when they can sense cold winter weather coming. Besides shelter, humidity and food attracts cockroaches indoors, and they’re typically discovered in both kitchens and bathrooms.
Like ants, dirty dishes or food residue on countertops attract cockroaches and their nocturnal nature means they’re often difficult to spot at first.
Mice and Rats
Mice and rats don’t hibernate. Instead, they wait out the harsh Canadian winter by taking refuge in our homes. Both cunning and nimble creatures, mice and rats have no problem setting up shop in dark and quiet spaces of our homes like our attics.
Once mice and rats know there is human food nearby, rodents like these are especially difficult to get rid of on your own. It’s only in springtime that mice and rats can begin foraging for fruits, plants, and seeds again. Easily penetrating cracks and gaps in your home thanks to their slender bodies, many homeowners would benefit from winter pest control to fix a rat or mouse problem.
Common ways to identify the signs of pests in a home
Now you know the types of pests that can penetrate your property in winter, here are some of the common warning signs for each species.
Signs of Ants
Firstly, you’re more likely to spot signs of ants in summer, but if you see them during winter, they’ve already formed a colony inside your four walls. Ants don’t hibernate in winter, but they do enter a state of dormancy and can go without food for a long time.
They do need shelter and warmth, however. Signs of ants include visibly seeing ants walking indoors, seeing small trails of sawdust, and hearing hollow sounds in wooden beams.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Despite being tiny and difficult to spot with the naked eyes, the signs of bed bugs are more obvious. Red, itchy bites on your skin may indicate that you have bed bugs since they love feeding on exposed skin when we’re asleep. A musky wet towel like odour is also a telltale sign.
Elsewhere, rusty coloured stains on your mattress, especially on its edges, indicate a bed bug problem. Lastly, bed bugs shed their skin too so any exoskeletons in your bedroom may further suggest an infestation.
Signs of Cockroaches
Homeowners may not feel they have a cockroach infestation and then the next minute, their numbers rapidly increase. One of the most evasive pests around, nocturnal roaches bury themselves away in skirting, beneath floorboards, and behind kitchen appliances. A big reproducing pest, cockroaches do provide homeowners clues, however.
Requiring water to survive, you’ll likely find roaches near your kitchen sink or inside your bathroom. Therefore, using a dehumidifier and clearing away wet dishes is so important. Other signs of cockroaches include red smear marks on tiling, as well as shedded skin and musty odours indoors.
Signs of Mice and Rats
Since they’re bigger pests, the signs of mice and rats are pretty obvious. Firstly, look out for droppings as well as bite marks on cabling and food containers. You should also listen out for scratching noises at night since this is when mice and rats are most active.
If you live in an older home, be vigilant over cracks and gaps because rodents can successfully navigate holes as little as 1.75 cm wide.
Don’t forget, AmeriSpec can help identify a pest problem before you reach out to your local pest control company
Pest problems aren’t only unnerving but can be costly to fix if left unaddressed for a significant amount of time. The key to fixing any pest problem is taking preventative action while reaching out to a local specialist for winter pest control measures.
Specialists in all things home related, the AmeriSpec team can help you identify a pest problem before you reach out for the winter pest control you need. Click here
to learn about our general home inspection services.