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Learning To Identify Overwintering Pests The Basics
It doesn’t matter what type of pest you are dealing with, you going to need to know how to identify that bug, This is especially true when it comes to infestations because some pests require specific treatments. Some pests you might be able to eliminate with some tactics, while others will snub their noses at these very same tactics and walk away. To start, overwintering pests seek shelter indoors during frost and snow conditions. Given the amount of frost and snow that we get in Toledo, Ohio, you can likely already see the need. Could you survive in the harsh elements during the winter? Likely not and neither could these bugs. That being said, these bugs usually take up residence in wall voids and attic spaces, trying to ride out the harsh winter months ahead.
What Type Of Pest Overwinters?
You just learned that an overwintering pest takes up residence inside during the winter. The reason for this is simple, survival. These pests do this as a means of survival. With that in mind, most people would consider all pests overwintering. Don’t all pests travel inside to avoid the harsh elements of the winter weather? No, especially not in Toledo. Here are some of the pests in Toledo that overwinter and what you need to know about them:
You’ll see heavy populations of this pest in the garden and orchard during the summer months, likely feeding on boxelder trees and maples. Unfortunately, as winter approaches, these pests will become more and more of a nuisance. This is because they’ll be looking to take up refuge in nearby homes or buildings to ride out the winter months. They only grow to be a ½ inch in length but have distinctive black and red markings on their flat wings. Because of their flat shape they can easily slip to the smallest cracks and crevices of a home’s foundation. They do not bite or sting, transmit diseases or do any property damage. The only real threat they pose is the odor and stain they leave behind when crushed.
The Multi-Colored Asian Ladybug (Asian Beetle, Asian Lady Beetles):
Even someone with a trained eye could easily mistake the Asian Lady Beetle as the Ladybug. Their habits aren’t that far off either. Both find their way into homes and buildings during the late fall, seeking shelter from the upcoming winter. In addition to this, they can leave behind a mess and emit a very unpleasant odor when crushed. This is why vacuuming them up can sometimes be a problem.
Cluster flies are truly unique, as they would prefer to live their entire life outside. Most of the bugs on this list would, but the harsh reality of the winter forces these bugs inside. The Cluster Fly is no different. The insect originates from the earthworm. All that being said, Cluster Flies don’t always seek shelter inside. When possible, they will take up residence behind tree bark and wooden planks. The indoors are the last result for these insects.
Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bugs
The adults can grow to be ¾ inches in length and the females produce an entire generation each year. They are brownish-gray in appearance and like to feed on pine cones or their seeds during the summer. When the winter starts to set in, these critters will naturally seek shelter indoors. Their first choice, like the Cluster Fly, is behind bark, but they will enter structures through small cracks and crevices. When these insects appear in the home, they usually appear in mass numbers. This is because the warmth hits their hibernation spot and wakes them up. They might not pose a physical threat or even potential structural damage, but they do need to be cleaned up.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs:
With a body of ½ inch in length and a back shaped like a triangular shield, the Stink Bug is easily identifiable amongst the masses. They get their name from the fact that their bodies resemble a marbled pattern (marmorated). These bugs were only just recently introduced into the US from Asia, but their numbers have soared over the years. Some of this is in part due to their ability to think on their feet. It was their quick wits that sent them indoors seeking shelter. Their preferred meal of choice is ornamental plants, which can be a problem for many garden and orchard owners.
Spotting The Early Warning Signs Of Overwintering Pests
As with any insect, early detection is always preferable. This will not only make your life much easier, but it’ll make treatment a lot more cost-friendly. This is why it pays to learn to spot the early warning signs of an infestation. Doing so will allow you to jump on the situation and start looking for treatment solutions. Just remember that the biggest majority of these bugs enter the property through cracks, and crevices in walls, floors, foundations, windows, and doors. These bugs usually wake from hibernation when the weather starts to warm, and this is when trouble usually starts.
These bugs do not want to be inside. They want to be outside. Unfortunately, some of them can get confused and turned around trying to get back outside. If you spot a bug or two in the home, this is a very good indication you are dealing with an infestation. Just simply helping the bug back outside will be sufficient, but it doesn’t mean that’ll clear up your entire problem. If you spot a bug or two, that’s usually a good sign that there are hundreds more hiding in your walls.
Prevention Of Overwintering Pests
The very best way to deal with any pest is by preventing the problem before it starts. Of course, this is always much easier said than done. Even when dealing with a docile pest like the overwintering pest, it can be hard to stop the infestation before it happens. As was mentioned above, the very best way to start is by sealing off the entry points. Identify openings, gaps, and other potential entry points. If this is something you are uncomfortable doing or not sure how you can give our Toledo offices a call. We’ll get someone out to the property who can identify and seal these spots for you. We’ll also provide you with other crucial tips and information that will assist you along the way.
That being said, it will help if you understand the most common points of entry for these pests and how you can properly seal them.
Brick And Mortar Joints
If you look at a brick wall, you’ll notice that the joints are smaller than the two bricks. When you install molding or siding on these bricks, it’ll create a gap. This gap will be susceptible to entry. These gaps will need to be closed with the proper sealant.
Under Window Frames
When windows are installed, the installers will caulk and seal the tops and sides. This is because the tops and sides are vulnerable to water. If they aren’t properly sealed, they’ll leak. However, this isn’t the case with the bottom of the frame. While not sealing the bottom of the window frame won’t cause water leaks, it’ll leave plenty of opportunities for pests to enter. These joints will also need to be properly sealed.
When installing fascia boards, you’ll notice almost a similar effect as when installing molding on brick. The uneven surface of the clapboard creates a gap in almost every board. As was mentioned, this is a similar effect to that of the brick mentioned above. However, you’ll notice that the gap is much greater here. What this simply means is, you’ll be better off filling the gap with insulation rather than caulking or sealant.
Soffit And Attic Vents
Soffits and attic vents are crucial for a home. They provide the ventilation needed to eliminate moisture and heat. The only problem is, if not properly installed they can create entry points for pests. These applications need screening of some type to keep bugs out. However, if that screening has tears or gaps, it can create a set of problems on its own.
As with any home or building, there are always going to be utility openings. These openings usually allow access to pipes, vents, or other crucial components. While these openings are necessary, they can create entry points for pests. This is why they’ll need properly sealed. That being said, you have to be extremely careful because you cannot permanently block these openings. Repairs might need to be performed here later. Just something to keep in mind.
Utilizing The Proper Materials
As you can see, it is crucial to seal and caulk potential entry points for pests. Just as important as it is to seal these openings, it is equally important to use the right materials. Here is a list of materials you’ll need to familiarize yourself.
- Caulking – This is best utilized with joints where there won’t be movement (brick)
- Sealants – This material is best for joints that might vary in width over the seasons (aluminum and wood)
- Foam Insulation – This is flexible and can be stuffed in long gaps. This is an extremely handy material, but if you use the spray, it can be nearly impossible to remove. Avoid these materials when sealing places that will later need accessed
- Aluminum Screening – This material can be rolled up and has little tiny openings, so it makes the perfect applicant for sealing areas that require ventilation
- Hardware Cloth – This is like a heavy-duty screen
- Pot Scrubbers – This is a material that will fit nicely into smaller gaps
Whether you are dealing with a pest infestation or just looking to prevent one, you can give us a call. Maybe you just have some questions or concerns. Whatever the situation is, we always have someone standing by in our Toledo offices. All you have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll have someone out to the property within 24 to 48 hours, but we do have emergency services available, if and when needed.