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The Basics Of Overwintering Pests
In Washington DC, there are a variety of insects that overwinter, meaning they almost hibernate. They venture indoors or to nearby properties when the winter starts to turn cold. They like to take shelter in protected areas to get away from upcoming frost and snow conditions. As it turns out, most attics and wall voids provide the perfect environmental conditions for these insects. When you consider the winter weather conditions that Washington DC faces, it only makes sense for these critters to venture indoors. It would be hard for anything to survive some of the harsh winter weather conditions that Washington residents oftentimes face.
What Types Of Pests Overwinter?
Overwintering pests are unique in the fact that they are not just a single insect. There are a variety of insects that create the overwintering classification. Unfortunately, this only makes detection and elimination all that more difficult because you have to learn how to identify and eliminate a variety of critters. Just because these pests venture indoors to get away from the winter weather, it doesn’t mean that they have the same temperaments or habits.
Whatever the situation, you’ll have to learn how to properly identify each different specific insect if you want to properly remove them from the property and keep them gone. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
An encounter with a boxelder bug is nothing something someone will forget quickly. This is because they are very distinctive creatures with flat black wings and red outlying markers. It is these red markers that make them stand out. The critter looks like some kind of ornamental mask that you’d find in the Amazon. They might be something to look at, but they can be quite a nuisance. You won’t want to look at them for too long. They only grow to ½ inch in size, don’t bite, don’t sting, and don’t transmit diseases, but they’ll emit stains and foul odors when crush. They also don’t reproduce in the home or have the potential to cause structural damage.
Asian Lady Beetles
It would not be unfathomable for someone to mistake the ladybug for the Asian beetle. And, this is because they are almost exactly alike in appearance. That being said, their habits are anything, unlike lady-like. These overwintering insects also have the propensity to emit foul odor and stain when crushed. They also aren’t much of a physical threat to you or your property, but it has been said that they taste extremely awful. That being said, you don’t have to worry about eating them because they don’t transmit or carry diseases. They just simply taste bad.
Unlike other overwintering pests and flies, the cluster fly would choose to live its entire life outside. They don’t want to be on the property. They only venture indoors because they have to and when they do, it is usually a last, last resort. They are so adamant about living their lives outdoors that they’ll try to survive behind tree bark and wooden planks before venturing indoors. The critter originates as a parasite from the earthworm. While they aren’t much of a physical threat either, it has been said that they can leave quite the mess behind wherever they go.
Leaf-Footed Pint Seed Bug
Believe it or not, here is another one that would prefer to live its entire life outside. It also first tries to take up residence outside before moving into the home. It hides behind the bark of pine and conifer trees, while also feeding on fallen pine cones during the summer. The adults of this species can grow to be as large a ¾ inch, which is rather large. Spotting this large insect in the home in abundance can be overwhelming. This is especially true with larger infestations. When these bugs wake or the walls start to warm up they’ll think the weather is turning back warm and try to venture outside. This is usually when people start to find them in the home because they are trying to get back out. Unfortunately, they can sometimes get turned around and end up further lost in the home.
The stink bug is also commonly referred to as the brown marmorated bug because of its brown marbled marmorated appearance. It is shaped like a brown shield. These bugs were introduced to the United States from Asia and have become a growing nuisance ever since. During the summer, they like to feed on vegetable crops, fruit trees, and some ornamental plants, making them even more of a nuisance to those with delicate flowers and blooms. These bugs emit extremely foul odors from their glands when crushed or stressed. This is just one of the reasons removal is best left to the pros. While it is possible to just vacuum them up and dispose of them in sealed bags, you’ll still likely want to turn to the pros to avoid a huge mess.
Spotting The Early Signs Of Overwintering Pests
Overwintering pests usually start showing their presence on the property during the early summer months, when the weather starts to heat up the walls. However, there are times when they are tricked into coming out of hiding as well. When the heating and air system heats the walls the bugs can also be tricked into thinking the weather is turning. Regardless, the result is the same. The bugs will come out of their hiding spots and try to venture back outside. These bug’s appearance indoors is completely accidental, as they are really just wanting to get back outdoors.
Unfortunately, they can sometimes get more confused and end up further lost in the property. Giving them a helping hand back outside sounds simple enough, but there is much more to successful elimination than that. All in all, it’s a task best left to the professionals. If you spot one or two of these bugs in the home, it likely means you are dealing with a whole nest somewhere.
How Do I Prevent Overwintering Pests
The best way to deal with any pest problem, overwinter pests included, is by stopping the problem before it becomes a problem. Prevent the infestation before it becomes an infestation. This is, however, much more difficult than you would imagine. We wouldn’t be in business if it was entirely possible. That being said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can’t do. It also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. Every little you do adds value to the home and can go a long way to prevent all sorts of critters from entering the property. The best place to start is on the outside of the home. After all, this is how the critters are getting into the home. Start by sealing all cracks, crevices, along with any potential leaks.
In addition to this, there are some other key things you’ll want to consider. Here will be some problem areas that you’ll want to keep an eye on:
Bricks And Mortar Joints
Brick is no doubt a popular building material in Washington DC. It is not only beautiful, but it holds unique building properties. This is why so many people utilize it. That being said, it does also create some unique properties in utilized. When bricks and placed side by side and on top of each other it leaves gaps. Gaps that need to be sealed. When these gaps are sealed they never end up being flush with the face of the bricks. This isn’t a problem until you start installing molding or trim. When installing these materials over brick it leaves gaps. These gaps will need to be sealed or bugs can crawl under.
Window frames are also beautiful and essential. They also create some unique properties when installed. When installed professional installers usually seal around the sides and the top of the windows. This is because these areas are vulnerable to water and moisture. While this is necessary, it leaves the bottom open. This area wouldn’t have to be sealed if it wasn’t for potential pest entry. Make sure you seal under your windows if they aren’t already. Mentioning this to your window installer at the time of installation could prompt them to go ahead and seal under the area. They are already sealing the tops and sides, so sealing the bottom would only take a few more minutes and minute materials.
Fascia Boards Over Wood Clapboard
When fascia board and similar products are installed over clapboard it creates the same unique properties as molding or trim on brick creates. Simply put, it leaves gaps. These gaps will need to be sealed with the appropriate materials. The only difference here is the gaps are much, much larger.
Soffit And Attic Vents
Soffits and attic vents are essential. Without these components, any building would have excessive moisture buildup. While these components are essential to any building, it is just as essential to make sure they are properly sealed. They need to be sealed in a manner that still allows air to pass through. This is why aluminum or metal screening makes the perfect sealing material.
It doesn’t matter what type of building or structure you are dealing with, there are going to be areas where pipes, vents, tubes, wires, and other accessories penetrate. These penetrations are essential for the everyday functioning of the property. While most of these penetrations are sealed when they are installed, it is possible that the sealant or caulking will expand over time. These areas are also usually exposed to the weather. Simply put, there could be gaps and cracks. These gaps and cracks will need to be properly sealed. You just have to be careful with these areas because they might need to be accessed later for repair or maintenance purposes. Use something that’s not too permanent.
Utilizing The Proper Sealing Materials
Throughout this article, you’ve heard talk about sealing cracks and crevices with the proper materials. Just as it is important to seal these areas, it’s just as important to make sure you are utilizing the right materials. Here is a list of materials that we commonly use for these specific tasks:
- Caulk – usually comes in a tube form and take a gun for application, but best utilized in areas where they will be no future movement
- Sealants – when you have joints that may expand over the seasons, you’ll want to use sealants. Wood and aluminum would be the perfect examples
- Foam Insulation – comes in the form of a tube and is best utilized when there are large openings that need stuffing
- Aluminum Screening – comes in metal and aluminum. This one is best utilized when the air still needs to pass through an area. Attic vents and soffits are the perfect examples
- Hardware Cloth – this material acts like a heavy-duty screen
- Pot Scrubbers – Pot scrubbers can neatly be stuffed into smaller openings and gaps
Eliminating and preventing pests can be quite a task. If you aren’t up for the task, we’ll be more than glad to take it on for you. Indeed, we recommend calling us for the job. We know exactly where to attack the problem and how to attack it.