A picturesque winter scene of pine trees covered in snow with the sun setting in the background.

What happens to pests in the winter?

Depending on who you talk to, there are a lot of pros and cons about the winter months. Some of us love the cold and snow and all the winter activities that come along with it, while others cannot stand the freezing temperatures, snow shoveling, and ice storms. One pro for all of us is that pests seem to be a little less active during the winter months, but are they actually? 

If pests aren’t active in the winter months, then where do they go when it gets cold? Do they see if your home has any vacancies? Stick it out and enjoy the chilly temps? Do some hibernate while others freeze off and die? Or do they migrate and move to Florida like humans? Let’s take a look at a few of the most annoying pests and see if and how they survive winter.

Having problems with pests in your home? Contact us today!

Blonde haired women wearing a grey sweater holding a coffee cup looking at the snow on trees outside her window.

What pests survive the cold months?

There are many different species of pest in the world and they all handle the cold differently. From hibernation to migration to even having antifreeze proteins in their body, some pests stick it out while others move to different areas — sometimes into your warm home. Mosquitoes, bed bugs, rodents, and stinging insects like bees and wasps are a few of the types of pests that either bother you all year long or hibernate during the cold. Can you guess if any stick it out in the cold?

Mosquitoes

We can all probably agree that the mosquito is one of the most bothersome pests during the summer months – especially when you are trying to relax outside. Mosquitoes hang out in the shrubbery by your patio furniture ready to feed on you. They also swarm your front porch lights, sometimes coming inside as soon as you open the door. Thankfully, as soon as temperatures consistently stay below 50o Fahrenheit, mosquitoes become inactive. The colder weather may lead to a slower mosquito reproduction process, but unfortunately, they don’t all die off. Mosquitoes can hibernate in trees or holes in the ground. Some may even hide in your basement if they gain access inside. When temperatures warm up in the spring, these mosquitoes start their reproduction cycle again and are back to biting us.

Close up of mosquito in snow.

Bed bugs

The bad news is that bed bugs don’t actually go anywhere in the winter. Since they live primarily indoors and can stay alive for months without food, the winter doesn’t really bother them. If they are warm and cozy in your bed then they’ll be there all season long unless you call us for service. Although they are still active, there is a lower risk of an infestation in the winter months as they won’t necessarily be looking to hitchhike a ride. Bed bugs don’t really like the cold, which is why they tend to be more active in the summer months.

Brown bed bug on white mattress zipper.

Rodents

Rodents are another one of the pesky pests that don’t go into hibernation during the winter months. Mice and rats eat larger amounts of food when the temperature starts to drop which helps them maintain a warmer body temperature to survive the cold. After their big meal, they’ll start looking to make their way indoors, and your house is usually a perfect option. Mice and rats love a warm house and even the smallest opening is a warm welcome for them. Rodents are incredibly strong and smart, so if you think your home is rodent-proof you should double-check to make sure there aren’t any cracks or crevices where they may be able to get in. Check out our exclusion service – it’s the best protection against rodents!

Close up of brown multi colored mouse in snow.

*Tip!* Rodents will also look to seek shelter in your vehicles, so check under the hood of your car or truck, as mice and rats can cause thousands of dollars in damage by gnawing through electrical wiring.

Bees and wasps

Bees and wasps may sting you in the summer, but it’s the cold winters that get to them. During the first frost of the season, most wasps actually die and only the queen survives. Some adult female wasps that are going to become queens can survive the colder months by hibernating in trees or in any cracks and crevices of your home. If they get inside, they can also hide in your attic, basement, or closet. If you have a surprisingly warm winter day, there is a chance you could see a wasp in your home.

Close up of wasp on snow.

Bees, on the other hand, have to stick pretty close together to survive the winter months. Once temperatures drop below 50oF, bees will hibernate in clusters in their hives to keep warm. (Did you know the core of one of these clusters can reach 95oF!) Unfortunately, these clusters can be found in your walls if bees gain access to your home, which is why proper stinging insect prevention is key to protecting your home.

Cluster of bees on green background

Winterize your home

You may not notice pests flying around your home, but as you just learned, there are some that can still be active in the winter months trying to keep warm from the cold. It’s important to winterize your home to protect yourself, your family, and your property. Here are some steps you can take to make sure pests don’t find a home in yours:

  • Install door sweeps on garage doors and exterior doors around your home and replace weather seals.
  • Seal all entry points from the interior of your home and your garage.
  • Seal all entry points from the exterior of your home using sealant to repair cracks, crevices, and plumbing and utility intrusions.
  • Install dryer and stove vent covers to exterior/interior fan vents.
  • Seal all entry points from your attic and install mesh gable and attic vents to the attic area.
  • Install plumbing caps on any accessible pipes.
  • Install a chimney cap to prevent rodents, birds, and other wildlife from entering.
  • Deodorize and replace damaged insulation.

Ehrlich controls pests year-round!

Our Ehrlich Technicians are here to help and our PestFree365+ plan provides pest-free living from over 36 of the most common household pests all year long. This program includes regularly scheduled services by one of our trained specialists who will thoroughly inspect your home, treat when and where necessary, and provide a detailed service report with recommendations of items you can address to keep your home pest-free. Additionally, we offer exclusion methods that can keep pests like rodents from invading your property this winter.

Let an Ehrlich Technician put a plan in place to reduce the possibility of pests making your home their home, protecting you, your family, and your property. Contact us for all your pest control needs – both treatment and prevention.

Emily Nicholson

Emily Nicholson is a Digital Marketing Coordinator for Rentokil North America. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two dogs. She loves being outside - mountains or beach - and enjoys working out, walking her pups, and relaxing with her husband, friends, and family.

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