By Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services
When temperatures drop, pests, just like people, start looking for relief from the cold weather. With an ample supply of food, warmth, and hiding places, this search could lead pests inside apartment buildings.
Stink bugs, Asian lady beetles, cluster flies, and box elder bugs often gather together on the south and west sides of buildings looking for warmth. At first, they’ll use the sun but as it gets colder, they’ll migrate indoors. These types of pests often stick together in swarms, huddling together for warmth. While they typically aren’t harmful, they can be a major nuisance, especially in large numbers.
Cockroaches are another pest to look out for in the winter months. Though a year-round pest, residents may be more likely to see cockroaches this time of year because they are spending more time indoors. When it comes to cockroaches, just because you only see one, doesn’t mean there aren’t more lurking nearby; in fact, it’s often the opposite. You’re most likely to spot cockroaches at night because they’re nocturnal. If you spot one during the day, it could signal a more severe scenario as cockroaches usually don’t come out during daylight unless an infestation has caused hiding areas to be overcrowded and food sources to dwindle.
It’s not just bugs that invade apartment buildings in winter; rodents, birds, and even larger animals like squirrels and raccoons can seek shelter also. Bird and rodent feces carry a host of diseases and can cause health issues from allergies and asthma to Hantavirus, Salmonella, and jaundice. Rodents, squirrels, and raccoons can cause a large amount of structural damage very quickly by chewing and foraging within the walls, attics, and crawl spaces of the building.
Some of these pests go into hiding during fall where no one can see them, creating an out of sight, out of mind issue. By the time they’re noticed – usually in early spring as they try to get back outside – they can present a big problem, as their often sizeable populations can make simple control measures ineffective.
But, winter doesn’t automatically mean doom and gloom. There are preventive measures you can take to protect your property and your residents from unwanted winter invaders.
Just because it’s no longer the warm pest season, doesn’t mean your property should become more relaxed with its pest management plan. Work with your local pest management professional to stay one step ahead of winter’s sneakiest pests.
Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and Board-Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.