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Overwintering is a term utilized in reference to a dormant state for insects. It is similar to hibernation, with one primary difference, animals. Mammal species, such as the bear, bat, hedgehog, ground squirrel, dormouse, and hedgehog, hibernate throughout the winter season. Insect species that hibernate throughout the winter include the box elder “boxelder” bug, stinkbug, ladybug, cluster fly, and leaf-footed pine seed bug. Learn more about these overwintering pest species by reading the content provided in the article below.
Overwintering Box Elder “Boxelder” Bug
The box elder bug is a small insect species with distinguishable physical characteristics – red-outlined wings with a black background. The insect flies short distances to access food, safe shelter away from predators, and exterior-to-interior openings into buildings.
Box elder bugs do not transmit disease or parasites to humans or animals. However, the insect has a distinct odor that is contributed to a pyrazine-based secretion. It is recommended to not crush a box elder bug, but instead, remove it from the home utilizing a vacuum cleaner.
The insect drops fecal material in feeding areas and hiding places. The secretion stains some types of fabric and painted surfaces.
Overwintering Ladybug “Asian Lady Beetle”
Like the box elder bug, the ladybug has highly distinguishable physical characteristics. In this case, the distinguishable feature is the shell-like orange, yellow, or red polka-dotted wings. The insect appears as if it is carrying around a heavy shell when in fact, it is carrying wings that are protected by a thin shell.
Ladybugs are pollinators, as they spend a lot of time helping industrial and commercial farmers pollinate corn, strawberries, and cucumbers. The ladybug joins other pollinator insect species – bees and mosquitoes – in pollinating flowers, orchard fruit trees, and crops.
Overwintering Cluster Fly
The cluster fly is often mistaken for the common housefly, as both share many of the same physical characteristics. Two sets of legs, two antennas, translucent-like wings, and a dark brown or black body. Cluster flies have been linked to food- and water-borne illnesses, such as Shigella, E. coli, and salmonella. It is crucial to store your non-perishable food products in glass or PBA-free containers with lids.
Cluster flies prefer spending the winter indoors, which is why they initiate infiltration attempts beginning in the late fall. Small openings around window frames and air conditioning vents are utilized to infiltrate commercial and residential buildings.
Overwintering Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bug
The leaf-footed pine seed bug grows up to ¾ inches in length, with a dark brown or black body, antennas, and legs. The insect feeds on saps from pine cones and fir seeds. They can be found in their natural habitat hiding behind loose tree bark, cracks in the side of buildings, in tall grass, and shrubs to protect themselves from the elements.
No overwintering pest desires to spend overwintering outdoors, which is why they invade homes. Once inside the home, the leaf-footed pine seed bug does not feed or reproduce. The insect is more noticeable or easier to detect due to its large size.
The leaf-footed pine seed bug does not pose a danger to the structures of your home.
Overwintering Brown Marmorated Sting Bug (BMSB)
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug “BMSB” is also known as the “stinkbug” in Pittsburgh. The classification is contributed to a secretion emitted when the insect is threatened or injured. It is not recommended to crush the stinkbug, but instead, suction the insect(s) up into a vacuum cleaner debris bag. You will have the option of releasing the instead back into the environment or letting them perish inside the vacuum cleaner debris bag.
The stinkbug originates from Asia, making its way to the United States in the late 1900s. In a small town in Pennsylvania. Allentown residents began reporting sightings of the insect to authorities in 1996.
Signs Of Overwintering Pests
You need to learn how to identify an overwintering pest problem before it spirals out of control. To do that, you should check your home carefully. When overwintering pests invade, they’ll find a way to hide. In general, they won’t leave your home until it gets hot outside again. You can likely make them out of hiding by increasing the temperature of your home. Do that and you’ll know whether you have overwintering pests.
Preventing Overwintering Pests
You’ll want to do everything you can to prevent overwintering pests problems. Start by searching the exterior of your home for gaps and cracks. If you find any, you need to seal these gaps and eliminate the entry point. Sealing the gaps is a good way to prevent unwanted guests from entering your home. Do what you can to prevent these pests from invading your dwelling.
Small Gaps & Screen Openings
Your home may have small gaps and screen openings. These flaws allow pests to invade your home, so you’ll need to seal them. Blocking these entry points can help you maintain a pest-free home.
Consider Protective Barrier Treatment
Consider using an exterior protective barrier treatment because it’ll make a big difference. With this treatment, pests will be less likely to invade your property and enter your home. A professional exterminator will use industrial-strength products to provide longer-lasting, more effective results.
Places To Look
First and foremost, you’ll want to check mortar joints. Bricks have gaps that are filled with mortar. With that being said, there is a good chance that these gaps allow pests to enter the attic. If this is the case, they need to be filled. The best way to fill in the gap is by using a sealant.
You might have gaps around your window frames. In particular, you need to check the bottom of the frame. If the bottom of the frame hasn’t been caulked, fix that as soon as possible. Otherwise, overwintering pests will use the gap to enter your dwelling.
Fascia & Clapboard
Since the clapboard has an uneven surface, it is going to create a gap near the fascia board. These holes must be filled. One way to do that is by using a foam insulating cord. You can caulk the holes, but it’ll take much longer.
Soffit & Attic
Pests can likely enter your dwelling through the small gaps around the soffit and attic vents. If there are holes here, pests will enter using them. Stuff something into the holes to keep them out.
Don’t forget to check utility openings because pests can enter through the small gaps around pipes and wires. Stuffing a used pot scrubber into the small holes is a good way to eliminate the problem. You can use a new pot scrubber, but they tend to be more rigid and harder to deal with.
Sealing Your Home And Keeping Pests Out
You’ll want to use exclusion materials to keep pests out of your home. These materials are designed to keep pests out of residential dwellings and commercial establishments. They’re also referred to as pest-proofing products. They’ll protect your home around the year.
Caulk Or Sealant
When it comes to filling the gaps, you’ll need to use caulk or sealant. If the surface is going to experience movement due to weather and temperature changes, use a sealant. Otherwise, caulk will be okay.
Using Exclusion Materials
You’ll want to use exclusion materials to keep overwintering pests out of your home.
- Using foam insulation is a good idea. It is flexible and effective for stuffing long gaps.
- An inexpensive solution to the problem is aluminum screening. It can easily be stuffed into holes of various sizes.
- Don’t forget to use hardware cloth.
- Finally, you’ll want to reuse pot scrubbers to prevent pests from invading.
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