Summertime is the peak period for pests such as ants and mosquitoes, but there are plenty of winter pest problems in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. Below is a list of the top winter pest problems we are seeing this winter as well as some solutions.
Top 10 Winter Pest Problems
Mice and Rats - Without a doubt, mice and rats are the top winter pest problem for many homeowners in areas including Alexandria VA, Arlington VA, Burke VA, Fairfax VA and across the Washington, D.C. region. The drop in temperatures forces rodents indoors to stay warm, build nests and enjoy easier access to food sources. Sealing gaps and cracks can help keep these winter pests outside where they belong. Keep food in closed containers will reduce what may attract them. Also keep pet foods sealed containers and do not leave pet food out overnight. Birdseed should also be stored in sealed containers. Contact a professional pest control company if you have a rodent issue to eliminate the problem and also sanitize attics, insulation and other areas to prevent diseases due to droppings.
Cockroaches can be a major winter pest problem.
Roaches - As you spend more time indoors this winter, you may be joined by cockroaches. Winter often means cooking for the holidays. Roaches love to eat the sugars , meats and starches that are often key ingredients for many holiday dishes and treats. Small spills can lead to big roach problems. Roaches love to hide in the difficult to clean small, dark corners and crevices. Regular cleaning and deep cleaning can help prevent these winter pest problems. But do not wait to call a pest control professional as soon as you see a roach. Roaches can quickly multiply and cause an infestation.
Wildlife - Squirrels and raccoons look cute until they get inside your home. Just like mice and rats, squirrels and raccoons like nothing better than to enjoy building their nest in your attic. Wildlife in your attic can cause extensive damage to insulation, wiring and any items stored in your attic. Exclusion and sealing up entry points is essential once they are evicted by a professional. Trapping wildlife by yourself is not recommended.
Pantry Pests - Pet foods and grain products are attractive for pantry pests such as the Indian Meal Moth. The adult moths are a symptom of the problem. The larvae do most of the damage. While pantry pests can be a problem anytime of the year, baking for the holidays can mean more of these products and more winter pest problems. Carefully inspect packages at the store and when you bring items home for any gaps. A pest control professional can help locate infested products and eliminate the problem.
Firewood Pests - Storing firewood in or near a home can lead to the introduction of winter pest problems. Cover stored firewood, keep it off the ground and about 20 feet away from any structures to prevent attracting termites. Inspect wood and only bring into the home as much wood as you plan to burn at any onetime.
Spiders - It is common to see more spiders around your home in the fall and winter. Spiders, which are arachnids, are usually harmless to people. They are beneficial insects that prey on flies, crickets and other insects that are common winter pest problems. Remove webs and spiders. You can also move them outside.
Carpenter Ants - Carpenter ants may be attracted by a water leak or moisture problem in your home. It is important to identify and eliminate water problems and the colony to protect the wood structure. Common leaks are found in plumbing, roofs or ice dams caused by gutter problems.
Fruit Flies - Fruit fly eggs may enter the home along with fruit and may be difficult to identify at the store. Fruit flies and drain flies can also lay eggs in cracks, drains and other gaps, where they feed on organic material. Deep cleaning and elimination of any contaminated food products will help reduce these problems.
Bed bugs - Holiday guests, travel and college students returning home often leads to an increase in calls about bed bug problems. Carefully inspect mattresses, bed frames, headboards, luggage and clothing in hotels rooms or after guests leave. Store luggage at home away from bedrooms. If you suspect a bed bug problem, contact a pest control professional immediately. Do It Yourself bed bug treatments often make the situation worse and more difficult to treat.
Fleas - Though fleas may be more commonly thought of as a summertime pest, we are increasingly seeing fleas a winter pest problems. Pets may spread flea problems as they spend more time indoors. If you suspect a flea problem, have pets treated by a veterinarian and have your home treated by a pest control professional.