In addition to the icy winds that bite our cheeks in winter as we go about our daily endeavors, the colder months of the year offer no respite from invading biting insects who invade out homes and annoy our spirits.
They seek warmth as do all living things when it gets cold and nasty outside, but somehow they always manage to survive only to come back in droves in summer, ruin our barbecues and sting friends and family.
The reality we all must face it is that the pest-control and pest maintenance specialists at Pestco Professional Services fight biting bugs all year long!
How Do Insects Live Through the Winter?
There are many insects that are seasonal, and in some instances, the adults die off in winter, but before they say adieu, they ensure the continuity of their species by burying their eggs underground or under old logs.
Honeybees remain active and create their own warmth by vibrating their wings as they remain close together in the shelter of their hives.
Others overwinter in a process known as diapause, which is a period of suspended development similar to hibernation in which they burrow underground or in other warm dark places.
In the case of many mosquito species, only the females and their eggs undergo this process.
Some insects use diapause in conjunction with natural shelters to survive the winter cold.
These can include: animal burrows, hollow logs and other warm dark places. Other escapes from the cold concern cracks in man-made edifices, spaces between aluminum siding and dark, quiet spaces like basements, attics or garages.
Some insect species endure by means of staggered hatching, which slows down the incubation process until the temperatures are right for hatching, at which time a new generation emerges to bother and bite.
It is only the top layer of water that freezes on lakes, ponds and rivers and some species, including mosquitoes, lay their eggs in the narrow expanse of water underneath that rarely freezes.
Which Are The Most Common Pittsburgh Winter Biting Pests?
There are a host of bugs that qualify for this category. They include: ants; spiders;
cockroaches; bedbugs; termites; ticks; fleas and mosquitoes. More on each follows below.
Ants can ruin a Pittsburgh party any time of year. Most ant species do bite, but some are much more serious than others. Some biting species include: the Fire Ant, Black Garden and Bullet Ant.
There are certain species that cannot survive freezing climes, but unfortunately there are others that do very well sheltering inside homes during the winter months of the year.
This can make them an even bigger problem than they are in spring and summer because they nest in walls, attics, pantries and basements.
While they aren’t likely to seek ingress in the winter, if you are seeing ants in your home, our team warns that this is a sign that they may have established a colony somewhere inside, and they will remain active if they are already there.
They can spoil foods, invade pantry and some species, such as carpenter ants, can cause severe structural damage.
These persistent pests are hardy, and once they have gained a foothold in a Pittsburgh home, only certain pest extermination measures can permanently eradicate them.
Throwing a mattress outside will not help the situation, as direct sunlight and moisture even in the winter prevents freezing.
Bedbugs multiply quickly and can double their populations every 16 days. In winter, when humans turn up the heat, bedbugs thrive by feeding off warm-blooded humans hosts.
Part of the global landscape since prehistoric times, the cockroach is by far among the hardiest of insects to have ever crawled across the earth.
There are four species throughout the United States that can survive year round. The American Cockroach seeks ingress near water, laundry rooms and bathrooms.
The German Cockroach is known to reproduce at an extremely rapid rate, and for this reason can be difficult to eliminate without professional intervention.
They seek out warm kitchens and often hide under appliances. The Oriental Cockroach loves basements, crawlspaces, and floor drains.
Their survival through winter is critical because it is when they reproduce.
The Brown-Banded Cockroach is attracted to heat and is often found in high kitchen cabinets, near appliances, heaters or anything with an electric motor.
Fleas are the bane of every Pittsburgh homeowner and pet, no matter what time of year they gain entry into a home.
Although they are most active during the warmer months of the year, if even one pupal-stage flea is somewhere in a home, it can hatch anytime of year and cause a full blown infestation.
Fleas can still reproduce and thrive in temperatures as low as 46 degrees. It can take up to five consistent days of freezing temperatures to kill an adult flea.
Indoor foggers, carpet and home sprays can help, but successfully treating an indoor flea cycle is most efficiently addressed by pest control and pest-maintenance professionals.
While the mosquito is active all year round in the tropical regions of the world, in large cities such as Pittsburgh, warm houses can also provide the perfect havens for mosquito reproduction.
Females hibernate in winter because they are cold-blooded and their survival depends upon warmer temperatures.
When the thermometer drops below 50 degrees F, they become sluggish and unable to fly.
Experts warn that it is not uncommon for mosquitoes to make their way in a home and seek out dark places like basements or attics before entering the hibernation process.
There are some dangers of disease posed by mosquito bites from certain species. These include: Malaria, West Nile Virus, Zika, which causes terrible birth defects in pregnant women and Dengue Fever.
There is no escape from spiders during the colder months of the year. According to Rod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, less than 5% of spiders that are found inside homes have never even been outdoors!
When seen scurrying across floors or walls in winter, they are most likely to have been inside the home, but hidden all year round.
Some spider species undergo a process of cold hardening in their bodies to survive the winter while others seek shelter in rock and wood piles and under rotting wood where they enter a state of diapause.
There are many spider house and cellar species and they are separated into two distinct categories; namely, hunting and web building spiders.
Jumping spiders, hobo and wolf spiders are also sometimes found, but they are not as common as other species.
The bite from a brown recluse spider, while is usually accidental, can be very dangerous and requires medical attention. For treatment advice, consult the Mayo Clinic website.
All spider infestations in the home, whenever they occur, require professional intervention.
Appearing similar to water damage, outward signs of termite destruction include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings and the presence of mazes within walls or furniture.
The sites of termite infestation are also often associated with a scent similar to mold or mildew.
They are active all year long and only dig deeper into their nests, breed and build tunnels when temperatures drop.
While they don’t bite humans directly, the damage they do can take quite a chunk out of the human pocketbook.
Pennsylvania is besieged by ticks as much in the winter months as much as other times of the year.
The black-legged tick, which carries Lyme Disease, is present in all 67 counties of the state.
There are approximately 25 tick species in the state, but the three most common are the American Dog Tick, The Black-Legged Tick and the Asian Long-Horned Ticks.
Due to the fact that that these insects are dangerous carriers of pathogens that cause disease, our pest-control and pest-maintenance specialists at Pestco advise homeowners to act quickly and notify them if there is a tick infestation on their property.
This winter make sure your house and property are safe from winter bugs that bite.
Call our teams at Pestco today. We’re always there to help!