As the seasons start to change and temperatures begin to fall, many of us are all too eager to get cozy and stay inside.

Unfortunately, there are numerous pests that feel the exact same way – and they’ll have no qualms about moving in with you this winter.

To avoid health and safety issues (and to protect your sanity), you’ll want to learn how to prevent this scenario and recognize the signs of pests during the colder months. Let’s take a closer look at what you should know about overwintering pests.

What is an Overwintering Pest?

The name here is fairly self-explanatory. An overwintering pest is an animal that finds shelter to protect itself from harsh weather during the coldest time of the year. Overwintering pests will take refuge in a warm, covered area to help them survive the winter. In many cases, this area will be your own home! That’s where the problems really begin.

Which Pests Should I Be Worried About This Winter?

What you might not realize is that there are numerous kinds of pests that might move into your home over the winter.

Many of these pests are insects. Asian ladybugs, stink bugs, boxelder bugs, moths, flies, and even mosquitos have been known to make their way into peoples’ homes and stay throughout the winter season. While some of these insects might seem relatively harmless in isolation, an infestation can be a big problem.

Other overwintering pests include rodents, such as mice and rats. Mice can find their way into your home through cracks and holes. Because food is scarce for them outside, they have a lot of good reasons to move in. Squirrels may also be tempted to come inside to escape the cold. Although they’re technically active during the winter, that won’t stop them from trying to find structural vulnerabilities in your home.

Rodents tend to be an even bigger concern than insects, as they can damage a variety of building materials, including electrical wiring. They can also carry disease and exacerbate respiratory issues for some people.

How Can I Protect My Home from Overwintering Pests?

Whenever possible, it’s best to prevent pest activity before it ever occurs. The first step is to identify potential entry points to your home and seal them up. Look for cracks or holes in your attic, floorboards, baseboards, roof, and foundation and be sure to seal up any holes around your doors and windows, vents, siding, and roof lines.

You can also add an extra barrier to the outside of your home, which will function as an additional layer of protection. On the inside, materials such as foam insulation can prove useful.

You should also take care to complete necessary yard work in the fall. This might include cutting back longer tree branches that get too close to your home or raking up and removing leaf piles that could encourage pest activity. Be sure to keep garbage totes inaccessible to wildlife and clear out items such as flowerpots and window boxes to keep pests away.

What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a Pest Problem?

If you suspect you have an overwintering pest problem, know that you aren’t alone. This is a common issue for even the most fastidious of homeowners.

However, you’ll still want to take this problem seriously. DIY methods work only up to a point and typically don’t eradicate the root cause. It’s best to contact a professional pest control company to assess your specific pest problems and create a solution that will produce long-term results.

If you think you might be dealing with overwintering pests (or want to prevent these issues before they start), contact us. We’re here to help.