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Where Do Bugs Go in The Winter?

What is overwintering?

As summer turns to fall and temperatures drop, insects go through an abrupt change in their lifestyle. Their activity and development largely cease, but they have strategies to survive the winter. Insect overwintering is frequently used to refer to a sort of hibernation undertaken by insects to survive cold temperatures. Insects can overwinter in any stage of their development unless they migrate. Overwintering pests typically stay hidden inside during the cold months but will emerge inside homes and businesses as temperatures rise.

Some insects survive by adding an “antifreeze,” called glycerol, to their cells while some insects seek out protective sites and spend the winter below ground, under debris, or in insulated areas. Winter diapause, a state in which insects stop growing and developing, is broken only if a period of cold weather passes or as the days start getting longer.

An insect’s worst enemies are the alternating extremes of very cold and very warm weather that can come during late winter. This is the same type of weather that also endangers plant survival.

Types of Overwintering Pests

  • Some insects overwinter in their egg stage, either singly or in an egg mass.

  • Bagworms spend the winter as eggs in the old bags from the previous year.

  • Brown marmorated stink bugs are a major nuisance overwintering insect that enters homes and other buildings to overwinter.

  • The Asian lady beetle, also known as the ladybug, is an overwintering pest that can be a concern as winter weather approaches. These insects overwinter in attics, basements and other protected, warm areas in a home or building.

  • Cluster flies congregate on the sunny and warm side of homes and buildings before overwintering inside attics or wall voids.

  • Box elder bug adults enter homes and buildings seeking warm places to overwinter.

  • Monarch butterflies survive by migrating south and returning north for the warmer seasons.

How to Prevent Overwintering Pests From Entering Homes

Some of the best methods to prevent overwintering pests from entering homes and other structures include:

  • If an overwintering pest gets inside, using a vacuum is the best way to eliminate it.

  • Do not allow items such as outdoor debris or woodpiles to accumulate against the side of the home or other structures.

  • Rake and dispose of leaf litter on your property since some insects will overwinter under the protection of leaves. Also, dispose of any cardboard, unnecessary wooden items or other debris may that provide protected overwintering sites.

  • Examine all exterior walls, doors, and windows for cracks or holes that could serve as points of entry for overwintering pests. Install screening over roof gables to keep pests out of your attic. Close cracks and gaps by sealing with screening, caulk, or similar sealants. Keeping any opening to the inside of a home or building well sealed will help to prevent overwintering pests from entering your home.

How to Reduce the Number of Overwintering Pests

  • Contact your pest management professional to provide a comprehensive inspection to identify where and how overwintering pests may get inside your home. When these entry points are located, either seal them yourself or have the exclusion work done by your Orkin Pro.

  • Our exterminators may use approved and registered insecticides to control and prevent pests from overwintering in attics, garages, basements, or outside storage sheds.

  • Some overwintering pests tend to congregate on the sunny side of homes as they look for suitable entrance points to move inside the structure. Your Orkin Pro will make sure to carefully inspect this high-priority location.

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