What Happens to Insects in the Winter?

Because insects can’t control their body temperature, many will freeze during the winter months. In order to survive, West Michigan insects do something called overwintering – and quite often they do it in your home. It can be a significant pest control problem.

What is 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 and creating a pronounced pest control issue! 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 in the process of safeguarding your home from overwintering insects. The next step is calling Safeguard Pest Solutions to provide the complete pest control necessary to prevent future infestations.

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Overwintering FAQs

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. The insects that 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.

Common Insects that Hibernate in Winter

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are black with red or orange markings on their back. They have 6 legs and two antennae, and 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 and present a real pest control issue 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

The Asian Ladybug, also known as the Asian Lady Beetle, is a common insect that will often use your home to overwinter, congregating in warm spots in large numbers when temperatures begin to cool. These beetles have the ability to squeeze into small cracks and crevices, and have even been known to squeeze themselves through closed windows! They tend remain dormant for the winter, but are known to resurface throughout a home when temperatures warm up to 50 degrees or more.

The Asian Ladybeetle looks very similar to the native Ladybug. When congregated 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 in your home likely found their way inside from 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, and they are often seen on the sides of houses warming up in the sun while searching 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 from their excrement. Fortunately, there are no known diseases that are carried by the cluster fly.

The easiest pest control strategy is to prevent these flies from entering your home in the first place. If indoors, you may use insecticides to eliminate them from your home. However, it’s best to hire a professional exterminator since using insecticides in your home can be a potentially serious health risk to you and your family.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a common pest that can wreak havoc on fruits and vegetables during the summer months. They are brown colored with a flat body that is shaped like a shield. During the winter months, this overwintering pest can invade your home in large numbers, creating a serious pest control problem.

Like all pests seeking shelter in your home, the best strategy is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Stink bugs enter your home through windows, cracks, and crevices around your home. Locate these openings and seal them before temperatures begin to fall. One inside, you can find these pests hiding behind baseboards, window and door trim, and around exhaust fans 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 a professional exterminator to help get rid of Stink Bugs in your home.

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