We’re not the only ones who like a warm winter — bugs do, too. This winter’s mild temperatures may encourage pests to come out of hiding earlier than usual.
“Several states have even reported tick sightings, which is especially worrisome as people head outdoors to enjoy the weather and are unprepared for tick encounters,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association.
Insects survive harsh winter temperatures using several strategies, such as slowing down their metabolism and respiration. But with the warmer temperatures, many are forced out of their hibernation-like states prematurely in search of food.
Look for increased numbers of boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles, and springtails, as well increased activity in ant and termite colonies. Wasp and hornet “future queens” may also survive the winter, resulting in more colonies in spring and summer.
Get a head start on spring pest control with these tips:
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
- Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
- Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the house.
- Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
- Screen windows and doors.