Protecting Pittsburgh Industry From Fall & Cold Weather Pests

The advent of fall and the winter months means shorter days, colder times, snow, gloves, boots, mufflers, overcoats, and last but not least, an onslaught of invading insect pests looking for a place to hunker down and withstand the cold temperatures.

As far as our pest control and pest management specialists at Pestco are concerned, this does not mean our services will be on hiatus until after the spring thaw.

We know full well that those pests that are known to survive freezing temperatures have instinctually developed habits that protect them from the cold.

Some burrow deep within the ground and insulate themselves below the frost line, while others perish, leaving a legacy of eggs or larvae that make their presence known in the spring.

General Aspects Of Fall and Cold Weather Pests

Generally speaking, insects are cold-blooded animals, which translates into the fact that their body temperatures relate to that of their surroundings.

Unlike birds and mammals, they do not maintain a body temperature and do not function well below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Between freezing and 50 degrees, insects usually revert to a dormant state when their body functions slow down.

Some bugs have the capacity to introduce glycerol, which is a naturally forming type of anti-freeze, to their system fluids replacing water. Those pests not dormant during the colder months of the year are always seeking access to warmth and a steady food supply.

For commercial space operators and owners, put another way, insect pests have not left the premises, but are merely sleeping and waiting for the proper time and temperature to strike in full force and cause industrial damage.

The battle against these invaders must never let up, even during the winter months of the year, and the experts at Pestco are always ready to help wage this endless war against destructive insect and rodent invaders.

Cold Weather Pests Damage To Pittsburgh Industry

Sometimes owners and managers of commercial spaces think that colder weather means there can be a relaxation of pest control and pest management measures.

This could not be further from the truth because exterior pest barriers still need maintenance to prevent pests from gaining ingress.

Climate controlled environments found in factories, food processing plants, supermarkets and housing complexes of all types provide the perfect shelter for unwanted insects and rodents.

Commercial establishments, with the help of the technicians at Pestco, must pro-actively prevent a resurgence of invading winter insect pests.

Some of these include: field mice, rats, stinkbugs, food pantry pests, carpenter ants, cockroaches and cluster flies. Below is a description of these destructive insects that cause significant damage to industries in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.

  • Rodents

According to a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), forty-five percent of all rodent infestations occur in the fall and winter months of the year and most often in kitchens and industrial food preparation areas. According to Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA: “Rats and mice are rodents that have been sharing our food and shelter for centuries, spreading disease. To prevent these unwanted pests from using our homes and businesses as shelter to ride out the chilly winter months, we advise all to rodent-proof their premises now.”

Pittsburgh mouse control pest extermination services

This same survey concluded that rodents invade about 21 million homes and businesses each winter. In addition to spreading diseases like Salmonella, typhus, Weil’s Disease and rat-bite fever, they also cause structural damage to buildings and factories by chewing through wood and dry wall and gnawing through electrical wires, which can cause fires.

  • Stinkbugs

The stinkbug poses a distinct threat to the bottom line of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania businesses, particularly the agricultural industry. These insects do terrible damage to fruits and plants, negatively affecting Pittsburgh orchards and farming production.

According to the United States Apple Association, stink bugs caused $37 million in damage to apple growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia during the year, 2010. These invasions in Pennsylvania caused severe financial losses in apple and peach orchard production.

Pittsburgh Cold Weather Pest Control Stink Bugs

Although they do not wreak their havoc during the winter months, our technicians still take preventive measures at this time of year because with the onset of cold weather, stinkbugs seek shelter within the walls of factories, residences, warehouses and other commercial spaces.

They enter through cracks and holes and are a significant nuisance to all types of industrial settings, including vulnerable Pittsburgh businesses that ship products overseas.

This includes the automobile industry, as many Pittsburgh car showrooms feature vehicles that are manufactured in sections of the United States where the brown marmorated stinkbug is known to inhabit.

  • Cluster Flies

Even though most people associate flies with summer, under certain conditions, they can cause problems during the winter as well.

Seeking shelter from the cold and the wind, they get inside homes and buildings where they remain until spring.

The most common problem associated with flies during cold weather comes from cluster flies, a large fly species whose larvae are planted in the body of worms. (Ugh!)

Cluster flies are bigger than houseflies, and often appear to be lightly yellow in color because of their many tiny hairs. They usually enter a home, restaurant or office building via gaps in roofs, attics and eaves and they prefer settlement in sun-facing spaces.

Unlike the housefly, this species doesn’t pose any health risk to humans. They are still, however, a great annoyance, as they travel in huge swarms comprised of thousands of flies. While in winter hibernation, their accumulated excrement can emit a highly unpleasant stench and stain fabric and walls.

  • Cockroaches

Roaches, particularly German cockroaches, can live and reproduce during the entire winter, replicating themselves and developing nests within the interior walls of apartment buildings, food processing plants and factories where the temperatures are usually warmer than 50 degrees.

They thrive in the rafters and sheet rock of any residence or commercial space. Oriental roaches have developed survival strategies for the winter as well. Due to their dependence on water to survive, they spend the winter months in sewers, floor drains, crawl spaces, and in basements.

It is best to call our pest professionals if a commercial space is infested with cockroaches. These invaders present serious health hazards wherever they may appear. They carry dangerous pathogens due to their dietary regimen of garbage and waste. On their legs and bodies they can transport E.coli and Salmonella, which they then transfer from contaminated areas onto the clean surfaces upon which they crawl.

  • Winged Carpenter Ants

During the winter months, winged carpenter ants are often brought indoors via infested firewood.

A residence, rustic inn or country-themed restaurant with heating via a fireplace or wood-burning stove may lose all of its bucolic charm by inadvertently introducing its customers to these destructive pests.

Pittsburgh Cold Weather Winged Carpenter Ant Control

They are seen during the colder months of the year when a nest has already been established on the premises. These large dark-colored winged ants are sometimes mistaken for termites. They nest in wood, but do not eat it, as termites do. They build extensive tunnel systems that weaken the structure of walls and building foundations.

  • Food Pantry Pests

We’ve written in depth about pantry pests and the damage food through contamination. When infested products are consumed, the bodies and by-products can cause a variety of health issues, such as: irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach.

These cold weather invaders seek shelter wherever there are food stuffs such as: processed foods; baking mixes; cracked grains; cornmeal; flour; oats; spices; cereals and even pet foods are stored.

Food pantry pests also enjoy feasting on sugar; chocolate; pasta; crackers; powdered milk; dried fruits and meat. They can cause serious problems in schools and food processing plants.

Some destructive species include: the Indian Meal Moth; Cigarette and Drugstore Beetle; Saw-toothed Grain Beetle; The Merchant Grain Beetle; Rice Weevil; Confused Flour Weevil and the Maize Weevil.

Weevils are a type of beetle that feeds inside individual grains of whole-wheat products, such as rice, wheat, kernel corn, table beans and nuts.

Female beetles lay their eggs inside hollowed out grains, sealing the cavity when they’re done. Once the egg hatches, the larva will feed on their individual grain until they reach an adult state and start producing eggs on their own, which can take as little as 32 days.

Pittsburgh Industries Most Affected By Cold Weather Pests

The Pittsburgh food industry suffers greatly from the intrusion of cold weather pests and often requires thorough inspections and other pest control and pest management strategies.

Rats, mice, flies, roaches and food storage insects can cause a commercial kitchen, or restaurant to fail established state health standards and close down.

Hope Bowman, Entomologist and Technical Specialist addressed the problem of pests in the food industry. She said:

“…Faster cleaning practices in many food-preparation areas has a downside. There’s a need to ensure that all food storage and preparation areas are free from the pests. Otherwise, a restaurant could face damage to its reputation if customers see flies swarming around your premises. Restaurants are often in rented spaces where it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the property is structurally sound. This often doesn’t happen, but small changes can have an impact. It’s amazing what using a fan in the kitchen to dry the floors after cleaning can do.”

Pestco Professional Services And Pest Solutions

Pestco’s professional pest control and pest management strategies work to solve the root of cold weather invading pest problems.

Our progressive solutions allow business owners and managers some peace of mind and the ability to focus on business operations instead of insect infestations. Our approach is always holistic, and harmful chemicals and pesticides are never used to deal with invasive insect pests.

We are a family-owned and operated business that has been in continuous operation in suburban Pittsburgh for more than seventy years, and have become the leading provider of emergency pest control, pest management and pest exclusionary services for commercial spaces throughout Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and the West Virginia panhandle.

Over the decades, we have developed an unblemished reputation for stellar customer service.

Our Complete Facility Care Program

This three-pronged offering is specifically directed at commercial and industrial facilities within the designated areas mentioned above.

This bundled blanket of services is designed specifically to provide cost-effective, professional pest control and pest management solutions offered by Pestco, air freshening and environmental odor control strategies supplied by Air-Scent and washroom hygiene services performed by Enviro-Master in one package that will both meet and surpass all state and local health and hygiene regulations.

This initiative should be seriously considered by any commercial enterprise seeking word-of-mouth referrals and return customers, which are the key to increasing that elusive, all-important bottom line.

In Conclusion

Pest problems are a year-round occurrence. A company must always be prepared and proactive in dealing with pest infestations.

Regular inspections conducted by our teams are the key to healthy pest management because they help to prevent future invasions.

The campaign against the world of bugs never ends. There might be less activity during the colder months of the year, but all business owners and managers must remember that they are lurking there with all the time in the world, just waiting for the right moment to strike and wreak havoc with any Pittsburgh industry.

Call our team today. Sleep well tonight and be pest-free tomorrow!

Final thought on insect pests: We can only hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics. ~ Bill Vaughan

A Few More Facts about Fall And Cold Weather Pests

While cold weather pests can cause significant industrial damage, they do have their place in Mother Nature’s order of things as unique beings. As such, they possess some interesting and noteworthy characteristics. Below are a few.

  • A Female Mouse Can Become Pregnant Every Month, All Year Long

Gestation only takes 20 days and each litter can produce as many as a dozen mice. Born blind, bald and deaf, these offspring become fully mature, mating mice within 50 days. 

  • Mice Have Big Appetites

Mice eat between 15 and 20 times a day despite the fact that they have tiny bodies and even smaller stomachs. Their frequent eating habits cause them to seek shelter near food sources.

  • Cluster Flies Reproduce Rapidly

A female cluster fly will lay approximately 130 eggs at once and will produce an average of two generations during her lifetime.

  • Cluster Flies Are Attracted To The Light

These insects are known to gravitate towards windows and lamps and are known to travel in a clumsy fashion, bumping into things along the way, as if they have had a bit too much to drink at Happy Hour.

  • Stinkbugs Can Emit Multiple Scents

In addition to their distinctive smell, which is likened to that of a skunk, stink bugs also produce a different odor, which is a pheromone released when they have found a spot suitable for winter hibernation. Undetectable to humans, it acts as a communication to other stinkbugs to come inside and get warm.

  • Stink Bugs Are Most Prominent In Autumn

Stinkbugs are most prevalent in the fall, as they cannot tolerate cold winter weather. With the advent of October, hordes of stinkbugs enter buildings and factories of all types via cracks in windows, doors and chimneys.

  • Carpenter Ants Can Lift 7 Times Their Own Weight

Their small muscles offer a greater cross-sectional area, providing ants with significantly more pound-per-pound force. In human terms, it’s like being able to lift a car with one’s teeth!

  • Carpenter Ants Are Neat Freaks

If insects can be hygienic, the carpenter ant must take its place among them. These pests remove all deteriorated foods and dead insects from their nests. They even create their own disinfectant, collecting resin to chemically disinfect each other as well.

  • Cockroaches Like To Be Touched On All Sides

The official word is thigmotropic, and it means being in contact with something solid from all sides of the body. This is why roaches seek shelter within tiny cracks and crevices in homes, offices and factories.

  • Cockroaches Were A Boon To Early Mankind

Cockroaches helped out ancestors by feeding on the bat dung from cave walls and ceilings, where prehistoric humans resided.


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