After weeks of frigid temperatures, many people across New England can’t wait to catch a break with a milder winter day. Unbeknownst to many homeowners, however, you might have some little visitors who are just as excited about the warm spell as you are. While many pests die off or go dormant during the colder months, some may become active again if a warmer day occurs– even in February!
Ladybugs, also known as ladybirds or ladybird beetles, can live up to three years. In the autumn months, they leave their feeding locations and search for overwintering sites where they can all huddle together and be warm, such as cracks, crevices, tree bark, or your home’s walls or roof. This is why you might see ladybugs congregated on the side of a building in the fall. If a milder day occurs during the winter, the ladybugs may get confused and crawl out of their hiding spot.
Similar to ladybugs, stink bugs search for overwintering sites in the late summer and fall, and hunker down for the winter in cracks or crevices. If they find any on the outside of your home, they will try to go in. Stink bugs will often stay hidden until spring, but they can become active again if we experience a warm, sunny day during the winter.
If cluster flies have gotten into to your home before winter, they could be hunkering down and waiting for a warmer day. Once the temperature gets high enough, any cluster flies inside your home will likely “cluster” at your windows in an attempt to get out. They will often be sluggish and easy to catch.
What Can You Do?
These insects are temperature-driven, meaning a warm day in the winter is no different to them than a warm day in the spring. To keep these pests from invading your winter days, the best thing to do is prevent them from getting in your home in the first place.
- Seal any cracks in and around: windows, doors, siding, fascia, trim and baseboards, chimneys, and utility pipes.
- Repair or replace any broken window or door screens.
If these pests have already managed to enter your home:
- Try using a vacuum cleaner to remove any live or dead insects.
- Use insecticide safely and as directed.
- Also check out this DIY stink bug trap!
A pest professional can treat for over-wintering pests in the late summer or fall, before pests congregate.
And as always, if you have any questions or need help with a pest problem, feel free to give Graduate a call.