Overwintering Pests

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Professional Overwintering Pest Control Chicago IL

What does the overwintering pest classification entail? The classification is utilized in reference to insect species that overwinter (hibernate) throughout the winter season. Insect overwintering starts before the fall season nears an end. Overwintering plays a major role in the lives of many insect species. Like hibernation, overwintering protects impacted insect species from extinction. Summer, spring, and fall climates do not even come close to being as harsh as the winter climate. Food, water, and shelter are plentiful most days during the summer, spring, and fall seasons. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the winter season, which leaves many insect species starving and freezing to death.

Overwintering is not always enough to protect insect species from extinction. But, it can still help. When insects enter the overwintering deep sleep state, their body functions slow drastically. The overwintering pest slows its heart rate, metabolic rate, movement, and breathing slow and lowers its body temperature to conserve energy. Conserving energy allows the insect to survive on minimal nutrients derived from stored fats.

Common Overwintering Pest Sightings In Chicago

Living in Chicago puts you at risk of an overwintering pest encounter, which can occur at any moment. Since overwintering pest activity is at its highest in the spring and fall. Beginning in late fall, the overwintering pest begins preparing for entering a deep sleep. During this time frame, the overwintering pest continuously initiates infiltration into residential and commercial establishments. Accessible exterior-to-interior openings, no larger than ½ of an inch in diameter will become access points for the overwintering pest.

Overwintering Pest – Box Elder “Boxelder” Bug

One of the most distinguishable overwintering pests is the box elder bug, also spelled boxelder bug. The adult is about ½ of an inch in length. The wings are black with a bright red outline. The insect species do not have stinging capabilities, diseases, or parasites. And, the flying capabilities are limited to short and medium distances.

In its natural habitat, the box elder bug seeks refuge in various species of trees – maple, ash, pine, and box elder. The diet consists of sap from the aforementioned tree species.

In the human habitat, box elder bugs seek refuge in dark, damp, warm, and discrete areas. The insects can be found hiding in garages and attics. To avoid detection, the insect will see shelter in unused jackets and shoes, storage containers, décor, toolboxes, toys, and other items.

Overwintering Pest – Lady Bug “Asian Lady Bug”

The overwintering ladybug referred to as the Asian lady beetle in Asia, has tiny red, yellow, or orange wings with black polka dots. The wings are covered with a thin protective layer to minimize injury during flight, takeoff, and landing mishaps.

The ladybug is a beetle species with flying capabilities, limited to short and medium distances. In its natural habitat, the ladybug seeks refuge in trees, bushes, and damaged siding. In the human habitat, the ladybug can be found hiding in storage boxes, closets, toy boxes, and other areas.

Overwintering Pest – Cluster Fly

The cluster fly is easily confused with the common housefly. Both species of flies have amazing flying capabilities, translucent-like wings, two sets of legs, two antennas, and a dark brown or black body. Unlike common housefly larvae, cluster fly larvae are earthworm parasites. The mature cluster fly is independent of the earthworm, feeding on juices and nectar from flowers and other plant species. The flying insect also feeds on rotting organic material.

Another major difference between the housefly and cluster fly, the latter does not spread disease to humans. In its natural habitat, the cluster fly seeks shelter in tall grass, vacant buildings, and underneath piles of firewood or lumber.

Overwintering Pest – Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug

The adult leaf-footed pine seed bug is approximately ¾ of an inch in length. The body, wings, legs, and antennas are dull dark brown, or black. The diet consists of sap from pine cones and seeds.

The overwintering leaf-footed pine seed bug seeks refuge underneath rocks, in shrubs, and behind loose tree bark. The insect is one of the largest overwintering pests. To avoid spending the winter outdoors, the overwintering leaf-footed pine seed bug infiltrates commercial and residential facilities via damaged siding, soffit, air conditioning ducts, dryer vents, and garage door seals.

Overwintering Pest – Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB”

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB,” short for stink bug, is another large overwintering pest. The adult is approximately ½ of an inch long, with a marmorated coloration that extends down the legs, head, and wings. Like the ladybug, the stink bug has wings, covered with a thin layer of shell-like material. The protectant layer helps minimize injury risks when landing, taking off, and in flight.

The stink bug, ladybug, and box elder bug overwintering pest species naturally secrete a deterrent. The deterrent has a foul odor that deters predatory insects and animals from having the insect species for lunch.

The stink bug originates from Asia, landing in the United States in the late 1980s. In its natural habitat, the stink bug takes shelter underneath rock formations, in trees and shrubs, and in tall grass.

Out of all the species of pantry pests, the stink bug will attempt home infiltration until reaching success or entering the overwintering state.

What Are The Signs Of A Overwintering Infestation?

Every tenant, landlord, property owner, business, merchant, and government entity should be familiar with the signs that point to an overwintering infestation. The most obvious sign of an overwintering pest infestation is live insects. Overwintering pests infiltrate homes through small exterior-to-interior openings in window and door frames, entrance door thresholds, heating, and air conditioning duct connections, and crawlspace vents.

Overwintering pests also utilize utility line (plumbing pipes and electrical wiring) passages, leading from the outside to the inside. These large openings are also access points for rodents, pantry pests, flying insects, and stinging pests.

Other overwintering pest infestation signs include fecal material, leading from the exterior to the interior of the home and hiding places.

What Is The Most Effective Overwintering Pest Prevention Solution?

There is no one prevention technique that will offer 100 percent protection against home infiltration of overwintering pests. A combination of techniques, combined into a single overwintering pest prevention strategy will offer 100 percent protection. It is crucial to know the differences, similarities, pros, and cons of each available prevention strategy. Our exterminators will gladly assist with the development of a custom prevention strategy. The strategy will be based on the size of your home, overwintering pest infestation history, location, preferences, and needs.

When the client agrees to get involved in the process right from the get-go, the custom prevention strategy is guaranteed to be effective. With the client’s help, the exterminator will develop a prevention plan that targets the vulnerable structural components responsible for previous infestations. Preventing future overwintering pest infestation, it is crucial to repair these structural components. In some cases, they will need to be updated.

Keeping Overwintering Pests Out Of The Human Habitat

Heeding the following tips will protect your home from overwintering pests:

  • Replaced Damaged Screens – Screens allow people to ventilate their home, without the concern of pest infiltration. When the screen is in need of repair, pests will utilize the openings are home entry points. The damaged screen will need to be replaced as soon as possible
  • Repair Damaged Door/Window Frames – Long-time exposure to the elements leaves window and door frames in need of repair. Smaller overwintering pests will easily infiltrate your home through cracks and crevices in damaged window frames
  • Replace Missing Mortar – It is not unusual for the mortar between bricks and rocks to break off, leaving the home exposed to insects. Utilize a waterproof sealant to replace the missing mortar
  • Vulnerable Fascia And Clapboard – Fascia and clapboard are exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is why routine visual inspection of the structural components is crucial. When the clapboard and fascia weaken to the point of no repair, the home becomes vulnerable to overwintering pests. Repairing or replacing these structural components will help keep the pests in their natural habitats
  • Attic, Crawlspace, And Basement Vents – Vents play an important role in the ventilation of a building. Vents are installed in the exterior wall of the basement, crawlspace, and attic. The vents are secured with screws or some other type of fastener. Some home developers utilize a stainless steel fastener and a waterproof sealant to ensure full protection against the elements, insects, and rodents
  • Exposed Utility Passages – All buildings have passages leading from the exterior to the interior. These passages are utilized for electrical wiring, sewage pipe, and water pipe installation. While these passages are crucial for utility capabilities, they are vulnerable to rodents and insects. We highly recommend thin metal sheeting to seal in the passages, allowing only enough space for the utility pipes and wiring

Required Materials For Structural Component Repairs

To complete the necessary repairs, which is part of the overwintering pest prevention strategy, high-quality, waterproof,  and durable materials are a necessity. These materials include the following:

  • Waterproof Sealant – A waterproof sealant – caulk and silicone – can be utilized to seal openings in vulnerable window and door frames
  • Foam Insulation – Foam insulation comes in an aerosol canister. Utilize the substance to fill in medium-sized openings around plumbing pipes, dryer vents, and air conditioning metal ducts
  • Plywood Sheeting – Plywood can be customized to seal openings, leading from the crawlspace to the kitchen and bathroom. These openings are utilized for bathroom and kitchen plumbing pipes
  • Metal Sheeting – Custom-fit metal sheeting to fill in large openings, utilized for utility lines

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