Autumn is Prime Season for Spooky Pests Inside Your House

“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky.” They’re…spiders, bats and bed bugs?

During Halloween, forget the typical haunted house! For most homeowners, just the thought of a spider building a web in the kitchen, a bat flying around in the attic, or bed bugs nesting between the sheets is all they need to deem their home a “haunted” one. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners that autumn is a prime season for pest infestations as insects and rodents seek shelter from cooler weather.

“Halloween is a celebration of all things spooky and scary, but the holiday also serves as an important reminder for homeowners to take preventative measures to keep pests from taking up residence in their homes,” says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. “Although plastic spiders and faux cobwebs are meant to be frightening, it is real life critters that can cause nightmares when they invade your home.”

NPMA offers these tips to homeowners for preventing a pest infestation during the Halloween season:

  • Seal cracks and holes in and around the home’s exterior to block entryways for pests.
  • Repair broken or poorly fitted window screens and loose/missing shingles; insure that locations where pipes and wiring enter homes are properly sealed.
  • Do not leave unsealed food lying around, as it attracts insects and rodents.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • Check wood for insects – especially spiders – before bringing it indoors.
  • If you see signs of a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and control the problem.

Where Do Mice Go in Winter?

Mice don’t hibernate.  This time of year is when they start looking for a place to spend the winter.  One of the places they may be looking is YOUR home!

Mice can enter your home through a variety of small crevices. You will want to seal up every opening you can find. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done because some species of mice are so small they can slip through a hole almost as small as a pencil.

Most homes have some kind of pipe or vent going through an outside wall. These spaces, if you can find them, can be plugged with steel wool or wire mesh for bigger holes. Also check the seals and weatherstripping around doors and garage doors.

If mice still manage to slip in, the two basic options are trapping them or poisoning them. Call the experts at Reardon immediately at 302-792-9300 if you notice any droppings or damage.

Where Do Honey Bees Go During the Winter?

Honeybees have a very interesting method of winter survival. Honeybees stop flying when the weather drops below 50 degrees. When the temperature drops below that, the bees all crowd into the lower central area of the hive and form a “winter cluster.” The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering in order to keep the center around 80 degrees. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold. The outside edges of the cluster stay at about 46-48 degrees. The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes.

Hibernating honeybees have been studied and shown to consume up to 30 pounds of stored honey during the winter months, which helps the bees produce body heat. Heat energy is produced by the oxidation of the honey, and circulated throughout the hive by the wing-fanning of worker bees. Note the diagram at right.

On warmer days, bees will venture out for short flights to eliminate body waste. The flights do not last long nor do the bees travel very far because if their body gets too cold they might not be able to return to the hive.

Keep Pests Outside Your Home

For many pests, including rodents, spiders and cockroaches, the change in season indicates the need to find refuge from the cold winter ahead. Homeowners should be mindful of the importance that fall pest-proofing can play in keeping pests from making their home in yours. And let’s not forget stink bugs, wasps, cluster flies, and ladybugs which are looking for warm places to overwinter.

To keep pests from overwintering in your home, Reardon recommends these fall pest-proofing tips:

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
  • Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
  • Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
  • Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house; keep shrubbery well-trimmed.

If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact Reardon professionals at 302.792.9300 to inspect, identify and treat the problem.