How do pests survive the cold temperatures of winter? Well, the short answer is, many do not. However, this depends highly on where you live and what type of winter pest we’re talking about. If you live in South Florida, for instance, the temperatures rarely get cold enough to wipe out the bugs. But if you live in New England, then the pests really don’t stand a chance against the outdoor conditions.
In this post, we are writing about pests primarily in South Carolina. Our winters can be mild enough that many pests live. Other winters are so cold, it does a great job at wiping them out. That being said, we have many pests that may take a small beating, but come right back in the spring.
Take for instance the ant. Most of us have heard the story about the grasshopper who didn’t store up for the winter, and when the cold weather came, he had to beg the ants to take him in. It’s true that ants store up provisions for cold weather, so they don’t really die during winter. They just stay underground and protected from the freezing temperatures above. This is why we will still have ants invading homes when we have just one warm day in the middle of a cold month.
Other pests, such as wasps, stink bugs, and lady bugs, will overwinter in your attic and walls. This protects them from the cold and enables them to survive until the next spring. We get so many calls each year when the weather begins to warm because people believe there is a nest in their house. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there is no nest, but the wasps just thought your house was a nice place to stay until the temperature got a little more pleasant. They’re kind of like snow birds and your house was their winter retreat!
Lastly, when the weather turns cold, we have a lot of pests that become winter pests because they run inside looking for a warm place to hang out. These are usually a little more visible, such as mice, cockroaches, and even spiders. They usually spike their presence in the fall when temperatures begin to drop, but can often remain a problem throughout the winter months.
When dealing with winter pests, it’s important to have a professional that can identify the pest and their habits. As you can see, all pests do not behave the same. It is also important, throughout the southeast, to have a program in place that anticipates the life cycle of these pests, and is proactive during the winter to be sure you don’t have a pest apocalypse in the spring!