Overwintering Pests

Muskegon / North


Holland / Grand Rapids



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What happens to insects in the winter?

Insects are cold-blooded animals. That means they don’t regulate their body temperatures like humans or birds. Winter can be a harsh time in the insect world. Because they can’t control their body temperature many insects freeze to death during the winter months. In order to survive the winter, West Michigan insects do something called overwintering. 


Overwintering is when an insect seeks shelter from not only predators but the elements as well. They do this by seeking shelter in the bark of trees, under leaves and other plant matter, and in some cases, entering your home! Any small crack or crevice is an open invitation for these overwintering insects to enter. Finding entry points and sealing them off is just one step to safeguarding your home from overwintering insects.

At what temperature do insects become inactive?

Most insects don’t develop or function well below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 50 degrees most insects slow way down and go into a dormant state where nearly all bodily functions are greatly slowed down. Those insects are unlucky enough to have found adequate shelter will likely die in the coming months due to freezing.


Where do spiders go during the winter?

Spiders can not survive the harsh and cold West Michigan winter months. As the temperature cools spiders slow way down into a kind of hibernation until it warms back up. Many spiders will seek shelter from the cold in a process called overwintering. Overwintering insects seek shelter in a number of places. Common places spiders find to hide during winter months are nooks and crannies in your garage or shed, inside the bark of trees, under plant matter, and even your home is fair game for a spider looking for shelter.


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What Common Insects Hibernate in the Winter?

Boxelder Bugs

boxelder bug

Boxelder bugs are black with red or orange markings on their back. Boxelder bugs have 6 legs and two antennae. They get their name from the trees they live on and lay their eggs in during the warmer months. They can often be found congregating together in warm spots while they attempt to find safe warm places to stay alive during the winter months. 

Your home is a favorite place where boxelder bugs like to overwinter. They enter your home through small cracks and crevices. They can be a real nuisance when large groups of them infest your home. Boxelder bugs rarely bite, but their mouths can penetrate the skin if mishandled and leave you with a small red bump similar to a mosquito bite. Their feces can leave reddish stains on fabric. If crushed the boxelder bug can release a strong unpleasant odor. 

Asian Ladybugs

ladybugThe Asian Ladybug, also known as the Asian Lady Beetle, is a common insect that commonly uses your home to overwinter. Large numbers of beetles congregate in warm spots while the temperature cools down. These beetles have the ability to squeeze into small cracks and crevices. Asain Ladybugs have been known to squeeze themselves through closed windows! They tend to lay low for the winters but are known to resurface throughout when warmed up to at least 50 degrees. 

The Asian Ladybeetle looks very similar to the native Ladybug. When together in large groups they emit a foul odor. This beetle can and will bite. Asain Ladybugs don’t appear to breed indoors so any that you find over the winter likely found their way inside for the outdoors. 

Cluster Flies

Cluster Flies are slightly larger than the common housefly. They are dull gray in color with black markings and numerous tiny golden-yellow hairs. This pest tends to show up during the colder fall months in large numbers. Often seen on the sides of houses warming up in the sun while they look for a safe spot to protect them during the cold winter months. They do not reproduce indoors. 

Cluster flies are a nuisance pest. They are unsightly and may leave small dark spots where they leave their excrement. There are no known diseases that are carried by the cluster fly. 

The easiest thing is to prevent the flies from entering your home in the first place. If indoors, insecticides may be used to remove them from your home. It’s best to hire a professional since insecticide in your home can be a potentially serious health risk to you and your family.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs

stinkbugThe Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a common pest that can wreak havoc on fruits and vegetables during the summer months. During the winter months, this pest can invade your home in large numbers while trying to overwinter. They are brown colored with a flat body that is shaped like a shield. 

Like all pests seeking shelter in your home, the best thing to do is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Stink bugs enter your home through windows, cracks, and crevices around your home.  Locate the openings and seal them before this pest enters your home. One inside, you can find them hiding behind baseboards, window and door trim, and around exhaust fan or lights in the ceiling. 

If crushed the Stink Bug emits a pungent odor that can linger for a long time. Home Stink Bug removal can be tricky. It’s advised that you seek professional help when trying to remove Stink Bugs from your home. 


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