Overwintering Pests

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The overwintering pest is an insect that spends the winter season in an overwintering state. Overwintering is a naturally occurring process, similar to that of hibernation. Instead of animals, overwintering is specific for insects, such as the ladybug, boxelder bug, stinkbug, cluster fly, and leaf-footed pine seed bug. Each of these insect species enters an overwintering state prior to or soon after the winter season kicks in.

A Rundown Of The Most Common Overwintering Pest Species

It is crucial, every homeowner, tenant, landlord, business, government agency, and public facility be on the lookout for overwintering pests. The impacted insect species begin to prepare for overwintering in late fall and early winter. Like pantry pest infestation, overwintering pest infestation can involve more than a species. In fact, most pantry pest infestation cases involve two or more insect species.

Learn How To Identify Overwintering Pests

Getting to know the ins and outs of an overwintering pest infestation is crucial for prevention. Even if you rent an apartment in a multi-story building, you are at risk. These pests will do whatever is necessary to spend the winter indoors, where they are safe, warm, and cozy. When you think about the harsh winter weather, who could blame them.

Ladybug “Lady Asian Lady Bug”

At first sight, the ladybug looks harmless. Some people may even view the insect as cute and safe. While this is partially true, ladybugs are not fond of the human touch. In fact, the insect generates a secretion that contains a natural chemical known as “pyridine”. The pyridine secretion is utilized as a deterrent for dangerous predators. The ladybug may view humans as dangerous predatory, releasing its pyridine secretion to avoid a physical encounter. When this happens, it will be extremely difficult to ignore the foul odor generated by the insect’s pyridine secretion.

The ladybug totes around a shell-like tortoise. However, the shell is a thin layer of protection for the wings. The shell-like material protects the wings when flying and landing. It also protects the animal from enemy pest attacks.

Boxelder Bug “Box Elder Bug”

Like the ladybug, the boxelder bug generates a pyridine secretion to deter predatory insects and animals from getting too close. The order is pungent and very noticeable from short distances. Identifying the box elder bug is generally easy, thanks to the black wings outlined in a bright right or orangish/red coloration.

When the boxelder bug determines it is time to stop attempting home infiltration and seek refuge, it will return to its natural habitat. It is not unusual to see a cluster of boxelder bugs in maple and box elder trees.

Cluster Fly

The cluster fly is very similar to the common housefly, but with one major difference. The cluster fly does not transmit diseases to animals or humans. In other words, fly-borne illnesses are not linked to the cluster fly.

The wings are translucent, and the body, antennas, and legs are dark brown or black. The cluster fly’s life begins as an earthworm parasite. Once the insect reaches the larvae life cycle, it will become independent of its host.

In preparation or overwintering, the cluster fly will frequently attempt home infiltration. If the insect is unsuccessful, its only option is to return to its natural habitat. The cluster fly seeks refuge in the tall brush, shrubs, and grass to weather out the winter season.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB”

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB” gets its classification from its unique marmorated coloration. The wings, body, antennas, and legs are all marmorated. Like the ladybug’s wings, the stinkbug’s wings are protected by a thin shell-like material.

The mature stinkbug grows up nearly 0.5 inches long. The wings have a shield or triangular shape. The species entered the United States, from Asia, in the late 1900s. While the stinkbug is intrusive to property owners between late fall and early winter, farmers are plagued throughout the summer and early and mid-fall.

The stinkbug classification derives from its natural pyridine secretion, which is utilized to keep predatory insects and animals at bay.

Overwintering Pest Prevention Strategies

Overwintering pests infiltrate the human habitat through open doors and windows, exterior-to-interior crevices, vulnerable attic vents, and other openings. The insect species that make up the overwintering pest classification are aggressive, starting in late fall. Not aggressive, as far as stinging or biting, but aggressive in trying to infiltrate residential and commercial establishments. You can toss an overwintering pest out of your home, only to have it return a few seconds later. In fact, some overwintering pests behave like a boomerang when tossed out the front door.

Protecting your home and family from overwintering pest infiltration is a full-time job during the peak season. You can start by taking advantage of the prevention tips provided below.

Repair Damaged Screens

Many homeowners utilize screens to protect windows and doors for ventilation purposes. Maintaining your screens by making the necessary repairs and improvements is a crucial component of any overwintering pest prevention strategy.

Treat Exterior Of Home With A Protective Barrier

The exterior of your property is continuously exposed to the elements, resulting in weathering damage. Treating the exterior of the home with a protective barrier will not only help combat weather but also prevent overwintering pest infiltration.

Common Overwintering Pest Home Access Points

Missing And Damage Mortar Between Bricks

Overwintering pests infiltrate homes through openings between bricks. The openings were once filled with mortar to stabilize the structure. Weathering can lead to damaged mortar. When left unrepaired, the mortar will eventually wash away, leaving the internal components exposed to the elements. Over time, the exposure will result in a small crevice that can be utilized as an entry point into your home.

Openings Between Window Frame And Siding

It is not unusual for older homes to have openings between window frames and siding. These openings are exposed to UV rays, rainwater, snow, and icy cold temperatures. Long-term exposure to these natural elements can result in permanent damage that can be utilized by overwintering pests to access your home.

Plumbing Pipe Passages

To deliver water into a home, a plumber must install water pipes from the main line to each bathroom and kitchen. These passages are utilized by rodents and insects to infiltrate residential and commercial establishments.

To prevent future overwintering pest infiltration via the plumbing pipe passages, it is crucial to seal off the openings. Utilize metal sheeting or plywood to seal the openings to keep pests out of your home.

Gather Your Materials

  • A waterproof sealant – caulk and silicone
  • A foam insulation
  • Metal sheeting
  • Plywood
  • Stainless-steel pot scrubbers
  • Metal screen sheets
  • Mortar

Be sure to take advantage of our free overwintering pest consultation, with a free home inspection.

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