All the bugs and pests and creepy crawlies don't disappear or burrow underground in the winter. Some of them will actually take refuge inside your home to keep warm and attempt to share your interior spaces with you.
Hidden Pests That Will Use Your Home to Keep Warm
Many different pests will try to seek out the warmth of your home and cause potential hazards, or simply build a colony consisting of multiple generations. Prevent pests from creating a generational dynasty in your home by knowing how they get in, how to get rid of them and how to keep them out in the first place.
Beetles single-mindedly seek out warmth during the cold winter months. They will find their way in through cracks, vents, windows, chimneys, and any and all openings.
They will look for the warmest part of the house, so seal up the cracks and keep an eye out for signs of beetles in the warmest areas of your home. This includes areas near appliances and your furnace area.
Beetles are essentially harmless, all things considered. They will not really cause damage to your home or to you.
Unlike many other pests, beetles won’t cause disease or harm to your home, so they may seem like an acceptable houseguest.
However, they will multiply in huge numbers so that a couple of beetles will become many. You don't want that.
They say that at the end of the world, cockroaches will still be thriving. Long after all the humans are gone, cockroaches will continue to thrive.
You still don't want them in your home, where they will nest in basements, crawl spaces, and other dark areas. They can trigger allergies, and spread bacteria, and frankly, they're just gross.
Cockroaches are also capable of multiplying in very large numbers very quickly and will turn into an infestation if you do not act fast.
There are actually many different types of "house" flies that will attempt to get into your home when the weather turns cold. You may find fruit flies, moth flies, or cluster flies in the house during the winter, to name a few.
Flies get into the home on plants and possibly fresh fruits and vegetables that are brought into the home. They can also get in on mail and other items that have been outside and have potentially been exposed to flies.
Flies are likely to be found near moisture in the home. If you have any leaks in your faucets, no matter how small, get this fixed.
Moisture and standing water of any kind is a beacon to pests, and it has a way of attracting flies in particular. Eliminate these moist areas by fixing leaks and plugging cracks, whatever is necessary.
There's a lot of lore attached to ladybugs, those distinctive little guys with their pretty colors and fun legends about being good luck. The truth is, they're still pests.
Ladybugs might be pretty, but they secrete a yellow fluid that positively stinks, and it can also cause stains. So, these bugs aren't so cute after all.
What's good for the garden in the summer isn't so great in the home. Though ladybugs are considered a beneficial insect when outside, you don't want them inside.
They will try to get inside. Ladybugs don't like the cold and will absolutely seek out warmth, searching for a way into your home through the smallest cracks.
Ladybugs hate soapy water. If you find them in your home, mix up some water and liquid soap and spray it right on them and on areas where you've seen them.
This should drive the ladybugs back outside, where they belong.
Like all warm-blooded creatures, mice need a place to wait out the winter. They may decide that your attic, basement, or some other dark, hidden area of your home is just the ticket.
And by the way, these are not the fairy tale version of house mice. These little guys do not sing and make dresses, they chew on wires, gnaw holes through drywall, and have many, many little baby mice.
They can also carry lots of different diseases you don't want, in case you aren't freaked out enough.
Prevent mice by sealing cracks and holes with caulk and steel wool, if needed to patch bigger areas. Mice can get into an opening as small as a dime, so keep this in mind while you’re sealing problem spots.
If you don't know what silverfish are, you're very lucky. Hope that it stays that way because these things are nothing but nasty.
Silverfish are about half an inch long, and they have silvery bodies, which is why they have such an epic-sounding name. What makes them awful, rather than epic, is that they will eat anything.
Literally, anything. Silverfish feed on paper, food, cardboard, other insects, and even on each other. When you're dealing with a cannibal insect, you're in trouble.
Silverfish are attracted to warm, wet areas. Look for them near plumbing and in kitchens and bathrooms.
Several types of spiders go indoors to seek shelter during the cold winter months, including the brown recluse and the black widow. These are two of the most dangerous spiders out there, so you don’t want them in your home.
Spiders will hang out in dark, quiet areas, and they're especially prone to nesting in cardboard boxes. Seal your boxes up tight and regularly sweep out all dark corners and hidden places to remove webs and debris, and spider eggs.
How to Prevent Hidden Pests
You don't have to wait until pests enter your home to start managing a problem. Prevent pests from getting into your home in the first place with good maintenance.
Trim back shrubbery, tree limbs, bushes, and any other plants that may be touching your home, windows, or roof. Keep all this kind of stuff clear from the house to prevent spiders and other pests from finding an entry point.
Clear away leaves, twigs, and debris from around the house. You should also pull up weeds to get rid of places where pests live.
Clean out cabinets, drawers, and closets. Now is a perfect time to do a little fall cleaning and re-organize and clean out all your storage areas.
Cleaning up crumbs, stray hairs, dirt, and dust is an extremely effective way to prevent pests. Remove the areas they're attracted to and the places where they hide to make your home more uninviting.
How to Get Rid of Pests
So...what if it's already too late, and you have pests in your home? There are many, many ways to get rid of pests once you've got them.
One natural remedy for spiders is citrus. Wipe down doorframes and window frames with a mixture of lemon juice and water in attic and basement areas, or areas where you have noticed spiders, to drive them away.
If you've seen ants around the house, mix together a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water and use this to wipe down any areas where you've seen ants. This destroys their scent trails, which they use for navigation.
This is a bit of an odd solution, but DIYers say this does work: take an empty bottle of wine and add enough maple syrup to coat the bottom. Rub the top of the bottle with cooking oil and leave it sitting out in the kitchen.
They say this household trap will draw and trap roaches, which will kill them.
Mix about ten drops of peppermint oil into an eight-ounce spray bottle of water. Spray this mixture around doors, vents, and windows to drive away ants, spiders, and mice.
Hidden Pests That Will Use Your Home
Many sneaky, hidden pests will try to use your home for its warmth during the winter months. You don't want to share your home with pests during any season of the year.
Know what to do to prevent pests from getting in, how to get rid of them once you think they might be inside, and what pests can do if they get inside your house. Everyone has to deal with pests at some point, so knowing what to do and what to look for will help a lot.
Cold Weather Pest FAQ
Will Pests Be Attracted to Homes in Winter No Matter What?
So is the situation hopeless? Are pests going to seek out the warmth of your home every winter regardless of what you do?
Not necessarily. With some regular maintenance and cleaning, it is possible to prevent pests and make things so uncomfortable for them if they do get in your home that they move on or die.
Keep all food stored in airtight plastic containers or jars. This goes for all your dry goods like crackers, cereal, flour, and anything else that is considered food, even dry pastas.
Don’t forget to keep pet food stored in an airtight plastic container as well. You should also sweep and vacuum regularly to remove all crumbs, which will attract pests.
Do a regular sweep of the ceilings and corners of your home to remove cobwebs. Be especially mindful of basements and attics, areas on top of cabinets, and around large appliances or machinery, such as the furnace.
Removing cobwebs regularly gives the spiders nowhere to live and no way to catch food, which will naturally make them move on.
Try to replace all cardboard boxes with plastic storage containers that have lids. Many different pests are attracted to cardboard boxes and will easily find a home inside.
Get lids for all trashcans and keep them covered. Also, remove trash regularly and do not let it build up.
The best way to make your home inhospitable to pests is to prevent access to food, clean out dark corners, and prevent them from getting into places where they might want to make a home. Make your home uncomfortable for them, and they will not stay.
What to Do If You Have a Pest Infestation?
What if you have pests and you just can’t get rid of them no matter what you try? When the home remedies, over-the-counter products, and all the DIY methods don’t seem to have an effect, you will need to get professional pest help.
Many companies specialize in pest removal and will get rid of the pests in your home. Because this can be an expensive and sometimes invasive procedure, use this as a last resort only when you have tried other methods of pest removal and these techniques have failed.
Can Pests inside the Home Cause Harm to Pets?
Everyone knows that fleas are a big problem for pets. However, many other household pets can cause harm to your fur babies.
Mice can spread disease to your pets and even attack them if threatened. Mice can scratch and bite your pets, creating wounds that could become infected.
Flies, ticks, and mites can also be harmful to your pets. They can cause pets to have allergic reactions and may create symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and general lethargy.
Why Doesn’t the Cold Kill Pests?
Cold weather does kill many types of bugs. This is why they seek out warmth with such strong determination and why they will try to get into your home if possible.
Some bugs can survive freezing temperatures if they go deep enough underground or create warm nests to shelter in while waiting out the winter. This means that problem bugs around your property might not really go away and end up resurging when the weather gets a little warmer.
It's a good idea to regularly spray around your home once a year to prevent and kill bugs. This will help provide constant prevention and cause existing bugs to die.
KC Morgan has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. Over the last decade, KC has published thousands of articles and blog posts that have been read by millions.
KC has written how-to articles, guides, and tutorials on different DIY ideas and home improvement projects. KC doesn&rsquo;t just write about DIY projects, she does them in her spare time too. KC shares her DIY passion by creating original articles, so others can pursue their own home improvement goals and ideas too.
KC&rsquo;s articles have appeared in Popular Mechanics, and have been featured on DIY guru Bob Vila&rsquo;s website. KC has written in-depth DIY articles for Sears.com and Overstock.com, as well as dozens of other websites. KC combines research and hands-on practice to provide useful tips and techniques for all sorts of DIY projects so that anyone can find ways to improve their own home and get the living space they want. KC works on her home every single day to learn new cleaning hacks, find DIY new projects, and discover new techniques to share with readers.
When she&rsquo;s not writing or DIYing, KC enjoys watching college basketball, playing with her cats, and experimenting with new cupcake recipes.