Overwintering Pests

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Professional Overwintering Pest Control Houston TX

What Is An “overwintering pest”? First, you need to know what the term “overwintering” means. Overwintering is a natural process that allows impacted insects to enter and remain in a hibernation-like state for the entirety of the winter season. Overwintering allows insects to remain safe during the harsh winter season, feeding on stored nutrients, instead of foraging for food.

Winter weather – snow, icy rain, single-digit temperatures, and cold winds – will take their toll on overwintering insects. In the overwintering state, insects enter deep sleep, only intermittently making body position changes. Just imaginee, being an overwintering pest outdoors in the winter. Not only would you be at risk of hypothermia, but also becoming food for predatory insects and animals. To avoid the winter weather and the risk of being eaten by a predator, infiltration of a home or business is a necessity.

What is home infiltration of the overwintering pest? Infiltration, in this sense, is like a home invasion by insects. Overwintering pests are drawn to all buildings, regardless of size, design, and location.

Type Of Overwintering Pest Species

There are various species of overwintering pests. Each species has unique physical characteristics and behaviors that make them unique and stand out above the rest. Every Houston resident and business should know these unique features, just in case, an overwintering pest encounter takes place somewhere down the road. The possibility of such a coincident happening is higher in the peak season – mid-to-late-fall and mid-spring and early summer.

Overwintering Box Elder Bug “Boxelder Bug”

The box elder bug is identified by its unique coloration – solid black with a bright red outline. The insect has three sets of black legs, two black antennas, and two large red bulging eyes. Once you are able to identify the box elder bug, it will become second nature when and if a future encounter takes place.

The adult measures about 0.5 inches in length, the perfect size for home infiltration via small crevices and cracks. Boxelder bugs do not have a negative impact on human health or the environment. They do not spread disease or parasites to humans or animals.

The most intrusive feature of the box elder bug is its natural pyridine secretion. The insect’s glands generate pyridine secretion as part of a safety mechanism to keep predators at bay. Pyridine is a natural substance, with staining agents and a foul odor, which acts as a predator deterrence for box elder bugs.

Overwintering Ladybug “Asian Lady Beetle”

If you live in Houston, it is likely you have encountered the tiny ladybug at least once in your lifetime. The ladybug is described by many people as a tiny replica of the turtle. While the ladybug does not fully replicate the turtle, it does share one very important feature with the turtle. This feature is no other than a shell. Yes, the ladybug does have a turtle-like shell.

The ladybug’s shell is the “elytra,” a hard casing that covers the wings, minimizing injury during flight and landing. The ladybug’s elytra vary in color from orange to red to yellow, with black polka dots. Again, once you identify the ladybug, you will never face any issues with future identification.

Overwintering Cluster Fly

The cluster fly is not as dangerous as some people believe. Unlike the common house fly, the cluster fly does not carry disease. The cluster fly is an earthworm parasite until it reaches the larvae life stage.

Hence the word “cluster.” The cluster fly clusters in groups when attempting home infiltration, trying to survive overwintering, and feeding. There is no doubt, the cluster fly fails in comparison to the common housefly when it comes to disease.

Overwintering Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug

The leaf-footed pine seed bug grows up to ¾ inches in length, with a dark brown body, six legs, and two antennas. The insect reproduces annually, following overwintering. The diet consists of sap from seeds and cones from the pine tree.

Here is another overwintering pest that clusters when attempting home infiltration and surviving the winter outdoors exposed to the elements. In the natural habitat, leaf-footed pine seed bugs seek refuge in pine trees, shrubs, and in the side of buildings in cracks.

In the late fall, the insect initiates a home infiltration attempt. Not every leaf-footed pine seed bug will have a successful home infiltration. In fact, most overwintering pests will not achieve warm shelter indoors.

Overwintering Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB”

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB” grows up to 0.5 inches long. The wings are covered with a thin shell to minimize the risk of injury when landing and in flight. Like the ladybug and box elder bug, the stinkbug generates a pyridine secretion, a natural deterrent for predatory insects and animals.

The stinkbug’s body is shaped like a shield, with a marmorated design. The stinkbug initially originated from Asia, entering the United States during the 90s. Residents of Allentown, Pennsylvania began reporting sightings of stinkbug in 1996. Since witnesses could not identify the insect, the officials called in the experts to assist.

In their natural habitat, overwintering stinkbug takes refuge in tall grass, trees, shrubs, piles of firewood, and other structures.

The stinkbug diet consists of orchard fruit – apples and peaches – and types of crops – pecan, strawberry, pepper, corn, soybean,

Overwintering Pest Infestation – Know The Signs!

It is crucial, Houston residents know the signs of overwintering pest infestation. Many overwintering pests colonize to protect their species from extinction. Along with overwintering, the pests colonize in groups of dozens, hundreds, and thousands. While overwintering is enough to minimize the death of impacted pest species, it may not be enough to stop the impacted insects from completely dying out. This is especially true for overwintering pests exposed to environmental elements and unfavorable weather conditions.

The signs of an overwintering pest infestation include:

  • Live overwintering pests hiding in unused attire and footwear, behind hanging art frames, inside electronics, and underneath appliances and furniture
  • Stained wall paint, furniture finishes, drapery, upholstery, clothes, and bed linen
  • Foul odors like ammonia and sulfur (related to pyridine secretion)
  • Fecal droppings on window frames, floors, countertops, and other surfaces
  • Damaged houseplants, crops, and orchard fruits

What Is the Best Prevention Strategy For Overwintering Pest Infestation?

There is no one strategy that can deliver 100 percent overwintering pest infestation prevention. A combination of techniques will offer better results. If all members of the household are not on board, the strategy will be ineffective.

No one wants to share their home with overwintering pests. Regardless of the size or location of your home, it will come under an overwintering pest attack, beginning in the late fall. If the structural components of your property are not in good condition, it will be infiltrated by overwintering pests.

We believe it is possible to safe-proof a property from these pests. But, it will not be easy, but it is possible.

How Are Overwintering Pests Infiltrating Human Habitats?

It cannot be stressed enough, vulnerable structural components can become entry points for these pests, beginning in mid-November. How are overwintering pests infiltrating homes:

  • Damaged Screen Closures – Damaged screen closures are commonly utilized by overwintering pests to access homes. Late fall is oftentimes utilized by Houston residents to ventilate their homes. While this is a great way to improve ventilation throughout your home, if the screen enclosures are damaged, it is not recommended
  • Missing Mortar Joints – Mortar is utilized to build brick, rock, stone, and concrete block walls. Each layer of stone is followed by a thick layer of mortar. While a durable building material, years of weathering and exposure to the elements will take their toll. The mortar will begin to breakdown and eventually break off
  • Vulnerable Window And Door Frames – Frames are installed around windows and doors for aesthetics, stability, and security purposes. The window frame is also utilized to secure the glass pane in place. Both the window and door frame play major roles in keeping insect, animal, and human intruders outdoors. Long-time exposure to the elements will result in mild, then moderate, and severe damage
  • Exposed Clapboard (Bevel Siding) – Clapboard is designed to fully cover the side of buildings. Over time, the clapboards will begin to break down where the pieces overlap. Overwintering pests and other insect species will take refuge in the exposed openings to avoid the winter elements
  • Cracked Soffit – Cracked soffit may not be enough to permit overwintering pests to access your home. But, it can make a great winter refuge for the cluster fly, ladybug, stinkbug, and box elder bug
  • Exposed Utility Passages – Utility passages are utilized by insects and rodents to infiltrate commercial and residential establishments

Prepare Damaged Structural Components (Overwintering Pest Access Points)

  • Seal small entry points with a waterproof sealant – caulk or silicone
  • Repair mortar joints with fresh mortar
  • Fill medium-sized openings with stainless steel pot scrubbers
  • Install metal screens over attic, crawlspace, and basement vents
  • Close utility passageways with custom metal sheeting
  • Utilize spray insulation in larger openings around crawlspace doors, air conditioning vents, and foundations

Why Hire Us!

We firmly believe early awareness can help minimize the risk of an overwintering pest infiltration transitioning into a full-blown infestation. Fortunately, overwintering pests do not generally reproduce indoors, decreasing the risk of an infestation. However, it is not unusual for more than one species of overwintering pests to infiltrate the same home.

By partnering with our Houston pest control experts, it is possible to protect your home and family from future infiltration of pests. Learn more about our pest control service by reaching out to our Houston customer support.

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