Even a “Bomb Cyclone” is Not Enough to Thwart Pests

How certain bugs and rodents survive despite frigid temperatures

FAIRFAX VA. (January 5, 2018) – The northeast has been battered by sub-zero temperatures and winter storms this week, with states as far south as Florida experiencing uncharacteristic amounts of snow. And while many hold out hope that a blustery winter means less pests come springtime, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that this unfortunately is not the case. 

“The truth is that bugs don’t just simply die off when winter rolls around. In fact, snow can actually be beneficial in keeping certain species alive,” said Michael Bentley, director of training and education for NPMA. “Consistent cooler temperatures and a decrease in daylight are the two telltale signs for pests that winter is coming and it’s time to overwinter or seek shelter.”

Here’s a look at five pests and how they’ve evolved to withstand whatever Mother Nature may throw at them this winter. 

Mosquitoes: While adult mosquitoes will not survive, the eggs will. Larvae enter a state of diapause, suspending their development during the winter and ensuring their buzzing and biting come spring.

Ticks: Ticks burrow deep under leaf litter which acts as an insulator once snow falls, protecting them from the elements until spring arrives.

Ants: Ants are able to physically lower their body temperature, and work to seal up their colonies to hunker down in deep soil or under rocks until spring. 

Termites: These wood-destroying insects move deep into the soil below the frost line to stay warm.

Rodents: Mice and rats can fit through openings the size of a dime and quarter respectively. They look for these small openings around the home to find shelter from the elements and access to food.

There are several other pests that are forced to move indoors when the temperature drops in order to survive like cluster flies, stink bugs and Asian lady beetles.

For those ready to brave the cold, the National Pest Management Association recommends these essential winter pest-proofing tips:

  • Trim back trees to prevent access to the underside of your roof overhang.
  • Declutter the basement, attic and any utility rooms to remove harborage sites for rodents.
  • Examine the fascia board along the roofline, replacing any areas of rotted wood.
  • Repair loose mortar and replace worn weatherstripping around all windows and doors.
  • Store food in sealed containers and keep crumbs off the floor.
  • Seal any and all cracks or gaps on the home exterior with a silicone-based caulk, plug holes under cabinets to utility lines with steel wool.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home, not only off the ground but also covered. Brush wood off before bringing it indoors.
  • Avoid ice dams, which can lead to moisture problems in the home by clearing potentially problematic accumulations of snow. Pests love moisture.
  • Hire a professional to clean, inspect the flue and install a cap over the chimney.
  • Call a licensed pest control professional to inspect and help shore up the home against pests.

For more information, visit PestWorld.org.

About the National Pest Management Association

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 6,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit PestWorld.org or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.