PESTS THAT THRIVE IN THE WINTER
When the weather cools off and the snow deepens, we usually have much more on our minds than household pests. We shovel the driveway, check the heat tape on plumbing, and make sure the pets’ water bowls are thawed. We either dread or anticipate snow-days, and enjoy our fireplaces. We can go snowboarding or ice skating without worrying about mosquito bites, and flies and gnats give us a welcomed reprieve. Some household pests, however, thrive in the winter. Here are some of the most tenacious – and dangerous – pests that can spread during the long nights of winter.
Mice and their larger cousins, rats, thrive in the winter, usually because they can take refuge in your home. All they need to enter your home is a tiny crack. Often, the small gap around the sink drain is all they need. They may climb in through the dryer vent or through gaps in the soffit of your house. Any time the weather changes for the worse, these adaptable little rodents will head for the place where they can find climate control. That will be human habitation.
They will breed in your walls and attic spaces, eating the insulation on your electrical wiring. They also gnaw on any wood in your home’s construction. Besides the damage from gnawing on your house, their urine and feces can soak through insulation and create damage to walls and ceilings. As they scurry through the mess, it makes the particles airborne so that they spread. This can cause severe respiratory illness in the humans that live there.
Mice and rats also have parasites, both internal and external. Intestinal parasites are excreted with feces, while external parasites such as fleas and ticks can spread to pets and humans. When the mice die, their dead carcasses continue to feed other kinds of insects, perpetuating the growth of disease and pathogens.
So, don’t think that just because it’s cold outside the mice have gone into hibernation. They don’t hibernate, and could be breeding in your home. Call your pest control company to check for signs of infestation before it becomes a problem.
Carpenter ants do not go dormant if they are close to a heated portion of a building. Unlike garden varieties of ants, they will continue to feed throughout the winter. They feed on the interior portions of your house. A sure sign of the presence of carpenter ants is the presence of sawdust in unlikely places. The ants actually chew up the wood and carry it out of the tunnels they make, depositing it outside their tunnels.
Never assume that carpenter ants or rodents have gone dormant. Call your pest control services and have your house treated to keep these destructive populations under control.