Pest Control News

Friday, 4 November 2016

Does Winter Mean No Pests?

Does Winter Mean No Pests?
Pests are a nuisance. From fleas in the carpets to rats in the garage, there seems to be no end of pests that try and share our homes with us. 
And why not? Our homes are safe from predators, they are warm and humid, they are great places to nest and there is usually a source of food close by too. 
However, many people are under the impression that all pests die off in winter. In other words, as soon as the cold comes, pests can’t cope and simply fade away until the warmth of spring returns. This is not quite the case, however. 
Outside bugs
Cold is not favoured by many common pests. For some insects, the cold spells immediate death. This is because they have smaller bodies that cannot retain heat well and when the cold strikes, their body temperature drops, and they are unable to cope.
This is why insects like ants will not be seen here in the UK from the autumn onwards. They will only emerge from their underground tunnels when they can feel the warmth of spring.
So, what does happen to insects over winter?
It varies from one species to another;
  • Die away – many insect colonies will die away leaving a ‘mated female’ behind to hibernate. The queen wasp is a prime example. It sleeps and slumbers its way through winter, waking with the first rays of spring sunshine. It will then find somewhere safe to start building a nest. Once it does this, it lays the fertilised eggs it has looked after all winter. At first, she’ll be busy flying off for food for these tiny young but once they reach a certain maturity, they will do all the running around whilst the queen wasp lays more eggs. 
  • Leave young behind – in other cases, the adults in the last throes of summer will leave their young (usually protected in eggs etc.) before they succumb to the end of their life-cycle. These young, safely cocooned over winter, will emerge in the spring. Their parents have been very thoughtful however, and placed them right in the middle of a delicious supply of food. Caterpillars on the underside of cabbage leaves will leave a lot of damage in their wake as they emerge into moths or butterflies. 
How can I stop bugs becoming a problem in spring?
Of all the infestations, having your home or garden invaded by insects is possibly the most unpleasant of problems. 
There are some things you can do to stop insects becoming a nuisance;
  • De-flea and worm pets – fleas can still be a problem in winter, so make sure you stay on top of flea treatments for both cats and dogs (see your vet for the latest, effective treatments).
  • Keep the outside tidy – leaves, general rubbish, rotting wood and so on can all be attractive places for some less-pleasant insects to hide or spend the winter. Get rid of this rubbish and compose leaves for leaf mulch.
  • Check outbuildings – greenhouses, sheds and garages are all places that the mated female wasp will enjoy the winter in. They often look ‘dead’ as they just lay on a window ledge but in fact, they are sleeping. Remove carefully as they can still sting.

Think you have a pest problem? Call us and we can keep you bug-free this winter.