Where do Pests go in the Winter?

We reside in sunny Florida, but the recent cold snap has brought unusual sights of people dressed in coats, hats and gloves.  But what about the pests?  How do they keep warm in the winter?

Pests have one thing on their minds:  survival.  A pest’s main goal is to find a warm place to survive and reproduce.  For example, our biggest winter pest is the roof rat.  During the warm months roof rats are happy and content to live outside in the palm trees.  This time of year, however, the male roof rat travels from house to house looking for warm, insulated areas where he can bring his female companions.  Once he finds a place (namely someone’s attic or garage) he brings in his mates.  The females become pregnant and remain there for the winter, each one raising 5 to 8 pups.

Roof rats are the biggest pest for several reasons.  First and foremost they spread disease as soon as they arrive.  They urinate and defecate wherever they walk leaving behind a trail of sickness and disease.  They carry fleas and other vermin on their bodies which they leave in your attic when they move out in the spring.  I am sure you have already heard about how rats cause damage to your home by chewing on wood, wiring, air ducts and pipes.

Ants will also seek refuge when cold weather arrives.  They will do whatever it takes to protect their queen(s).  They may go deep under the ground or they may take refuge in the top of a tree, depending on the species.  If they happen to come into contact with a structure, they may move the colony underneath it or they may move the colony up into the attic.

Bees also live in colonies and they will also move into decorative structures,  retainer walls, electrical boxes, openings in soffits or roofs and sometimes into furniture or personal belongings stored around the outside of the home.  Again, their main goal is to protect the queen, so they swarm and flutter their wings around her to keep her warm.

Termites on the other hand, do not move their colonies.  Subterranean termite colonies live down in the soil and drywood termites remain in the structures they have infested.  They do slow down when the weather gets cold, but they continually work all winter long here in Florida.

Wasps move to sheltered areas, sometimes inside your home prior to the winter months.  They go there and remain dormant until the spring.  In the spring, they come out of the cocoon and fly around.  Oftentimes, they hatch out in the attic and come into the living area through the ceiling.

You may have noticed some Asian Ladybeetles that look just like Lady Bugs.  In Asia they overwinter in caves.  Since we do not have any caves here in Florida they are often seen in droves on the sunny side of the home trying to sneak into the attic or crawlspace so they will have a warm place to stay for the winter.

In other states, when the temperatures fall too low, most mosquitos will die off.  However, that is not so here in Florida.  They are active all winter long.  There are less of them in the winter but they do not completely die off.

Broward and Palm Beach Counties are located right on the edge of the Everglades.  There is an abundant water supply due to the swamps and canals, and rats and other wildlife are very prevalent in this area.  Excluding rats before they gain entry is the best way to keep them from damaging your home.  Hometown Pest Control offers free pest inspections.  Call us today and we will give you a reasonable quote for what it would cost to do a preventative Rodent Exclusion Service at your home or business.  561-483-4333.