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Although we are currently enjoying the warm days of summer, in just another month or so, many insects will begin to prepare for the cooler months ahead. Insects that survive the winter as adults must locate a suitable shelter in which to overwinter. Many times, the preferred suitable shelter for an adult insect to overwinter is a home or a building.
The insects that seek shelter in buildings during the cooler months are commonly referred to as overwintering pests, or winter insects. Overwintering pests generally become pests in the fall, winter and spring, because this is when they are using a home or building as harborage.
The cooler evenings in late summer and early fall act to signal insects that winter is approaching. Overwintering pests will then begin their search for an appropriate shelter where they can wait out the winter months. It is during this time that you will begin to see insects crawling on the exteriors of your homes or business. Common winter insects include:
Brown marmorated stink bugs are a species of stink bug that is native to Asia, but has been a massive annoyance to homeowners and farmers in recent years. Since being first identified stateside in 2001, the Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been spotted in over 40 U.S. states. The shield-shaped insects invade homes in huge numbers but do not spread disease.
Boxelder bugs are famous for their Spiderman-like colors, and are one the usual suspects in the fall when it comes to winter insect invaders. Like the BSMB, it is said that boxelder bugs emit a foul odor when handled. In rare instances, these reddish black insect will bite humans, causing minor irritation.
Asian lady beetles were initially brought to the United States to control other pests, but the Asian lady beetle has emerged as a common nuisance pest for homeowners. Like the offenders above, Harmonia axyridis, is known to seek shelter in winter months inside buildings. Oddly enough, Asian lady beetles are more attracted to brightly colored buildings.
Once the overwintering pests have landed on the exterior of a building, they will crawl up and about, searching for ways to enter into the home. Many will gain access through openings around windows or vents. After gaining access to the interior of a building, the insects will crawl as far as they can until they find a suitable site to settle into for the winter.
In the springtime, the warm temperatures will cue the insects to head outdoors. When warm winter days occur, a few of these insects may awaken and will generally crawl towards the warmest area, which (in the winter) is usually towards the inside of the building. Eventually, the insects make their way into living spaces, and will fly in the direction of the windows during the day and the light fixtures at night.
Have a question about overwintering pests? Contact your local office for a free consultation from Ehrlich Pest Control, Your Local Pest Control Experts.