Prevent Overwintering Pests From Making Your Home Theirs

The National Pest Management Association offers tips on how to avoid fall pest infestations

FAIRFAX, Va. (September 15, 2014) – With fall approaching, pests will begin searching for shelter from the harsh winter elements, often ending up in homes and other structures. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises homeowners to take steps now to prevent pests from invading their homes. A few fall pest-proofing techniques can help prevent the aggravation of infestations and help prevent structural damage and protect family health.

"When pests enter homes to overwinter during the fall, they can often go unnoticed," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "However, when the weather warms, they reemerge and become active, often revealing larger problems."

The most common overwintering pests include:

Stink Bugs - The brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive species from Asia, has quickly spread throughout much of the United States. The majority of their lifecycle is spent outdoors, but they become a smelly nuisance when they invade homes in high numbers searching for overwintering sites.

Asian Lady Beetles - Most species of this beetle family pose little threat to humans, but the multi-colored Asian lady beetle can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions. They also tend to exude a staining, yellow, foul-smelling fluid.

Boxelder Bugs - Boxelder bugs congregate on warm spots on buildings before migrating indoors to overwinter in insulated cracks and crevices. Their fecal material can discolor fabric and they occasionally bite when handled, causing slight irritation.

Mice - Although they don't "overwinter," mice are active year-round and scurry indoors when the weather cools to nest and be close to food sources. Their incessant gnawing can cause damage and even spark electrical fires. They are also a sanitation issue, contaminating food and defecating on surfaces like counters where food is prepared.

To prevent pests this fall, repair torn screens, seal cracks with high quality silicone or silicone-latex caulk, fill holes around utilities with steel wool and install door sweeps on exterior entrances. If you suspect an infestation, a qualified pest professional can evaluate the problem and recommend an action plan.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information visit