As a business owner, you know that cockroaches and rodents can be a threat to your business all year round, including the winter months. But are you keeping an eye out for signs of other pests that may be quietly making themselves at home when it gets colder? While many pests simply die off when winter hits, some are just slowing down and biding their time until spring.
Luckily there are still plenty of signs of their presence, and winter is the perfect time to tackle the issue and make sure it's all clear for spring. Here's what you need to know about unexpected winter pests and how they can impact your business.
Winter Pests to Watch Out For
The climate across the United States varies wildly, with some regions getting sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow while others deal with much milder conditions. Hibernating winter insects you'll have to deal with depend on how cold it gets. Here are some of the most common pests that stick around even as the temperature drops. Some pests will spend the winter inside our structures in a state of dormancy. Some are able to continue activity due to the shelter provided by our structures. Still, others will be the first on the scene when weather starts to thaw. Here are some of those pests.
RELATED ARTICLE: Commercial Pest Guide: Hibernating Insects
Hornets & Wasps
There are an estimated 150,000 individual species in the bee and wasp families that all have their own unique characteristics. The most common species you will deal with as a business owner are paper wasps, yellow jackets, and some types of hornets. You may have noticed that these insects tend to get more aggressive in the fall before disappearing when the temperature drops. While most of the colony dies off over the winter, the fertile females are built to hibernate so they can wake up in the spring and start a new colony.
As a business owner, you don't want wasps or yellow jackets hibernating near your property because you'll find yourself dealing with a bigger problem come spring.
- A wasp or two flying around inside – they may become lethargic from hibernation, but if one got in, there might be others.
- A nest tucked into exposed but protected areas such as the corner of windows, under awnings, rooflines and eaves. Remove any nests in the fall, and watch for the development of new nests in the spring before there is a chance to build and develop large populations.
Do yourself a favor and have a professional pest control expert do a sweep in the late fall and again in the early spring to ensure no stinging insects have made themselves at home for the winter. That way, you won't have to deal with a rapidly growing wasp population in the spring and summer.
If you live in a southern state, the winter months may come with an increased bird population. Even Northern states can see increased activity from sparrows and starlings as they seek food, warmth, water and shelter. Migrating birds are looking for a safe place to nest, and warehouses with high ceilings and large shipping and receiving doors that are often left open can be appealing. In the northern states, activity may increase as non-migrating birds are seeking shelter indoors. Bird droppings and nesting materials can cause damage to inventory and equipment over time, not to mention swooping birds can be distracting and dangerous for employees. Birds are also known to carry pathogens that may contaminate food products and make people sick.
To prevent birds from nesting in your warehouse or business storage area, a professional pest expert can perform an assessment to explain why birds are present and the conditions that are favorable to bird activity. From there, a professional can install bird control solutions that make it more difficult for birds to perch and nest, such as wire barriers, control gel, spikes and shock systems.
Not many people associate mosquitoes with the dead of winter, but they can still be a problem in certain climates for certain types of businesses. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and if that water freezes, the eggs will go dormant and wait until a thaw to hatch. Then there will be hundreds of hungry new baby mosquitoes hatching at the same time, which could be a problem for your business.
If you run a business with an outdoor seating area or garden, eliminating standing water is the number one way to avoid mosquitoes. As snow and ice melt, make sure the water is draining properly to avoid puddles of standing water that could contain dormant mosquito eggs.
A professional pest control expert can identify areas that could potentially attract mosquitoes and treat your property to ensure you're protected from mosquitoes all-year round.
Termites are small insects that feed on wood and dead plant matter. The ideal temperature for all species of termites is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but that doesn't mean they aren't active when it cools down. Termites don't hibernate, so they will always need food, water, and warmth. Staying active by feeding on wood is how they survive when it gets cold. They may slow down a bit in the winter, but you'll still notice the common signs like mud tubes, damaged wood, and discarded wings if you have a termite infestation in your business.
Since termite damage can be so extensive and costly, it's best to call in expert advice from a pest control professional like Terminix.
Want to leave pests out in the cold? Call us at 877.837.6464 for a pest control quote or to schedule a service.