The temperatures have finally started to drop, and you know winter is on its way. But with the falling temperatures comes the risk for indoor bugs during the colder months.
In a previous blog, we discussed how to winterize your home against pests. Yet despite your best efforts, some insects may still find their way into your kitchen, bathroom, and window sills.
Below, we’ve listed the four most common bugs likely to enter your home this winter. Read on to learn what each insect looks like so you can better identify any pests you find inside your home.
During the summer months, ladybugs serve as a great pest control feature for most gardeners-especially since ladybugs feed on other insects. But during the winter, though they pose no threat to you, your family, or your home, you may find their presence a nuisance.
Ladybugs tend to overwinter in light-colored homes. Additionally, these bugs prefer older homes that reflect high levels of heat during the cold months. And since these insects emit powerful pheromones (which sometimes reach up to a quarter-mile away), they attract dozens of other ladybugs into a home.
You can easily recognize these bugs by their small round shape and bright red, black polka-dotted exoskeleton.
However, Asian ladybugs (colloquially known as Asian beetles) are more commonly found inside Midwest homes during the winter. These insects closely resemble ladybugs, but with one distinction: their exoskeletons sport various shades of red, yellow, and burnt orange.
Ladybugs and Asian beetles don’t reproduce or feed while indoors, so you don’t have to worry about them damaging your home or belongings. But if you accidentally crush either of these insects, they’ll leave behind a yellow, smelly residue that stains surfaces.
Like Asian beetles and ladybugs, stink bugs emit a foul odor as a defense mechanism. These bugs have a dulled arrowhead shape and don various shades of brown speckles. The lower edges of the abdomen also display alternating brown and cream stripes.
In the warmer months, stink bugs live in thriving gardens, plant-filled parks, and lush landscapes. During the winter, these insects move indoors to survive the cold.
Stink bugs love to consume pumpkin juice. If you placed jack-o’-lanterns outside your home for Halloween or if you carved fresh pumpkin for your Thanksgiving pies, you’ll likely see these critters outside your home-and once it starts to frost outside, they’ll move indoors.
Once inside, stink bugs find secluded, quiet spaces to overwinter. Look for them near your walls or in crawl spaces and attics. These locations contain adequate heat and protection from predators, so you’ll want to run a thorough inspection.
You can easily recognize woolly bears by their black- and rust-colored stripes. And if you’ve lived in the Midwest for some time, then you’re likely familiar with the myth behind woolly bear caterpillars.
According to folklore, the thickness of a woolly bear’s rust-colored bands can determine the severity of winter weather. If the band is thicker, the winter will be mild. But if the caterpillar has more black bands, the winter will likely be more severe.
It’s very rare to find woolly bear caterpillars inside your home during the winter. However, you’ll likely notice their transformed moths indoors.
Better known as Isabella tiger moths, these flying insects are easily recognizable by their creamy yellow color and small black spots on their wings. These moths feed on herbs and flowering plants (such as sunflowers), so you typically won’t have to worry about these moths eating your furniture or clothing.
During the summer, carpenter ants nest in wood structures like patio and decks. And a few carpenter ants in your backyard don’t cause excessive damage to these wood structures. But once carpenter ants move inside for the winter, they can cause severe structural damage to your home.
The largest of any ant species, carpenter ants range between 6 and 12 millimeters in length. Winged carpenter ants can achieve a length of 18 millimeters, and a queen carpenter ant reaches up to 20 millimeters in size.
Carpenter ants also look dark brown or black in color and have narrow abdomens, bent antennae, and hind wings that are shorter than their front wings. Since carpenter ants nest inside wood, you’ll likely notice wood dust, insect parts, and soil around nest areas.
Luckily for homeowners, carpenter ants are more likely than termites to venture out of their dark hiding places. This regular visibility makes it easier for you to identify any carpenter ants in your home this winter. The sooner you notice these bugs, the less likely your home is to sustain damage.
As you prepare your home for winter, consider the bugs listed above. Remember what each looks like so you can easily identify them if they enter your home. When and if you do see any of these insects in your home, contact your local pest control specialist. These professionals can clear your home of any bugs and help you further winterize your home as well. Contact a Professional today to help eliminate any these pests and get your home ready for the coming winter months.