How to Avoid Fall and Winter Pests

Kelly Garvin
Written by Kelly Garvin
Updated October 27, 2015
pest control provider spraying outside of home
Regular pest control services remain important throughout the colder months. (Photo by John Quinn)

Freezing temperatures lead people to believe pests won't be seen until the next year.

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But some pests continue their activity through the colder months and others are preparing to start another brood when spring arrives. A great bug exodus is prompted in the fall months when the erratic temperatures signal to pests everywhere that it’s time to overwinter, which is a kind of bug hibernation. Many bugs will venture inside structures and homes in search of a warm and protective spot to hunker down. Other bugs are very much active in the winter as they are able to survive and thrive in the climate-controlled bliss of the home you’ve worked so hard to keep comfortable. 

Fall pests

Watch out for these common fall pests.

Stink bugs

Out of all the fall pests, homeowners seem to complain about the stink bug the most. Since the stink bug is a relatively new pest in the United States, the pest control industry has yet to develop a prevention plan. They fly, which makes it difficult to predict where they will land to apply products, and they are extremely resilient

To prevent stink bugs, seal any cracks around your home. 

Wasps

Wasps will likely die down as temperatures drop below freezing, but there are a few outliers able to survive comfortably within the warmer structures of your nicely heated home.

Walk around your home regularly to find any forming nests and identify potential points of entry. Fill in old rodent burrows and repair any gaps or cracks around your home with caulking or vent covers.

Wasps can be very aggressive and sometimes even dangerous, so call a pest control professional to deal with them. If you’re feeling crafty, you can build a trap to use until the professionals arrive.

Spiders

During the fall season, mature male spiders are more audacious than usual because they are seeking a mate. Contrary to popular thought, spiders are not coming in to escape the cold. They likely live in your home throughout the year.

Keep a tidy home and regularly dust the nooks and crannies to stop webs from forming. Spray peppermint and rosemary essential oils to deter future spiders. 

Seasonal advice

Looking for more seasonal advice? Check out our seasonal maintenance guides:

The Angi Guide to Fall Maintenance

The Angi Guide to Winter Maintenance

Winter pests

Winter is an excellent time to receive an indoor pest control treatment and an exterior crack and crevice application. The following pests hang around in the winter.

Cockroaches and spiders

Overwintering doesn’t apply to indoor pests and creatures.

To avoid them, make sure to clean up after yourself and regularly vacuum or mop to eliminate crumbs and any food residue. Eliminate hiding spots that an insect may find enticing. Sweep away any webbing you see before it gets any bigger.

Rodents

Rodents can be a big problem in the winter because they are in desperate search of warm shelter. Rats and mice have the ability to compress their rib cages to fit in the tiniest of spaces, so it’s very difficult to completely rodent-proof your home. If you live next to an open field or woods, rodents can become a big problem.

Make regular inspection trips around your home searching for any potential entry points. Seal any cracks or gaps around the foundation. Make sure any foliage is 3 feet or more away from your foundation.

Raccoons, opossums and coyotes

As it becomes colder and there’s less food to be scavenged, you’ll receive more visits from bigger animals.

Keep your trash bins tightly sealed. If you feed your animals outside, do not free feed them and clean up after they are done.

Remove anything that could be attracting animals, like trash, food remnants and seeds from the bird feeder. If you know there is an animal in the area, be careful and monitor your pets as you let them outside. 

Bugs that are overwintering are essentially ensuring the next year’s generation of pests. Pests that find good shelter outside in cracks and crevices or in trees or logs stand a good chance of winter survival and will awaken the following spring. Don’t forget about pest control in the colder months. If you treat areas during the winter, pests are less likely to become active in the spring

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As of Oct. 26, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.

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