Is Pest Control Really Important During the Winter?
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Is Pest Control Really Important During the Winter?

Reading time: 8 minutes

While some pests in Canada, like fleas and mosquitoes, are less active during the winter, it's a common misconception that all insects follow suit. Many homeowners are surprised that their pest management needs to continue throughout the frigid cold season, but a proactive approach is key to eliminating and preventing infestations in the winter.

Here are our top tips for winter pest control and how Buzz Boss can help you keep your home pest-free all year long.

Pest Control During Winter
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Most Common Winter Pests

Contrary to popular belief, very few pest species completely die off in the wintertime. Instead, they are driven inside in search of warmth, shelter, and food. The most common winter pests found by Canadian homeowners in the winter include:

  • Mice and rats. These warm-blooded creatures can quickly make a house their home if they can gain entry during the winter. Rodents cause structural damage to your home and carry severe and even deadly diseases like leptospirosis, hantavirus, and other harmful pathogens.
  • Spiders. While most spider species in western Canada aren't harmful to humans and are even helpful at reducing unwanted insect populations, most people still don't want these creepy-crawly critters on their property. But like the other pests on this list, spiders seek shelter from the Arctic conditions outdoors and tend to turn up in basements, attics, and bathrooms more often during the winter.
  • Silverfish. These small, moisture-loving crawling insects thrive in the damp but insulated conditions of Canadian bathrooms and basements in the winter. While silverfish generally aren't hazardous to humans in the way that other pests are, they can cause damage to clothing, books, files, and important things made from paper or cloth.
  • Cockroaches. It's a common myth that cockroaches in Canada are most active during the warmer months. However, they're also attracted to the scent of food and garbage, which is more common in the winter as families celebrate holiday dinners together.
Buzz Boss worker spraying in front of the house against pests

5 Reasons You Need Pest Control In Winter

There are many benefits of pest control in winter, and here are our top five:

1. Keeps Pests from Getting In

One of the most effective parts of pest management is exclusion methods. Seal any small holes or cracks that insects and mice can fit through before the weather gets too cold.

If rodents, spiders, and other insects can’t get in your house in the first place, they can never lay eggs or reproduce within your space. Just be sure to take this step early so you’re not sealing in any pests that have already found their way into your space.

2. Prevents Wood-Destroying Pests from Continuing to Feed

Wood-destroying pests like termites, rodents, and carpenter ants can easily find shelter in your walls and floors during the winter. This gives them the perfect hideout for the season, with plenty of warmth and food to last until spring. Then, as warm temperatures arrive, colonies quickly proliferate.

Some common sources of wood-destroying pests in the winter include:

  • Antique or untreated wood furniture
  • Evergreen boughs, trees, and wreaths used for decoration
  • Firewood that hasn’t been inspected before being brought inside
  • Holiday decorations that have been kept in storage
  • Fences and other wood structures that touch the soil

Addressing these potential hot spots prevents these pests from getting inside your home during the winter and protects your sentimental belongings from becoming termite or ant food.

3. Protects Food Supplies and Human Health

With the holidays being a popular time for shared meals, mitigating the risk of pests getting in and contaminating food supplies and ultimately getting someone sick becomes exponentially important.

Rodents and pantry pests can be an unwelcome surprise in your kitchen during holiday festivities and ruin your food supplies when you least expect it. If this happens when stores are closed for Christmas, you might not be able to replace them in time to save the meal.

Flour beetles, Indianmeal moths, and other meal bugs are tiny but can easily get into stored flour, pasta, cereals, and other pantry items. Winter rodents tend to be attracted to leftovers and garbage that often piles up around the holidays.

Ensure the packages you bring home from the store are well-sealed without any openings or tears that insects may have been able to get into during the manufacturing and shipping process. Store all your food items in tightly sealed containers, ideally in a cooler environment like the refrigerator or a root cellar. Bag up garbage and take it to a closed container outside.

4. Prevents Electrical and Insulation Damage

If pests enter your property during the winter, the risk of damage is high. Holiday lighting cords are attractive to mice and rats who chew on them, potentially causing your lights to go out or even causing an electrical fire.

Pests that get into your insulation can create spaces exposed to outdoor elements, compromising the integrity of your heating and cooling system and making your home uncomfortably cold.

5. Winter Pest Control Works for the Spring, Too

Any efforts you make now to eradicate pests from your space and keep them from returning this winter also protect your home during the spring and summer seasons.

For example, many pests lay eggs in the winter during their life cycle. Addressing them now, before they have a chance to establish themselves in your home and start reproducing, helps minimize the number of new pests that will emerge when the temperatures begin to rise in the spring.

Buzz Boss truck in front of a house

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Winter Pest Control

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses an environmentally sustainable approach to address pests at every stage of their lifecycle. Pest control professionals use a comprehensive strategy with multiple layers that combine mechanical, biological, physical, and chemical pest control methods to effectively eradicate and prevent insect and nuisance animal populations without harming people, non-target animals, or the local ecosystem.

My house is brand new; do I still need winter pest control services?

It’s a common misconception that newly built homes and new construction don’t require pest control, but this isn’t the case. Even if your house is new, preventing pests during the cold season is crucial.

Older homes tend to have more cracks, holes, and openings in their foundations than newer homes, but this doesn't necessarily mean that freshly constructed houses are inherently less susceptible to pest entry.

Rather, construction materials can attract wood-destroying pests and create warm, cozy hiding spots. If you do a good job of sealing your home to pests when it's first built, you'll have fewer problems as time goes on. You can also reseal these areas annually so insects and rodents never get a chance to get inside since it’s easier to keep them out than to deal with them once they’ve gotten in.

Are DIY pest control methods effective in the winter?

Some DIY pest control methods can help deter insects, spiders, and rodents from taking up residence in your home, but their efficacy depends largely on what kind of pests you're dealing with and the severity of the problem. For example, natural repellents like peppermint and pine may be more attractive to pests living in evergreen trees.

Eliminating sources of food can help with rodents but not with wood-destroying pests that feast on lumber. In most cases, it's best to use a combination of methods that target different pests and work to eradicate existing populations and prevent new ones from getting in.

I have a wood stove. How do I keep pests away?

While the charm of a wood fireplace during Canada's glacial winters is enticing, firewood is a significant source of pest activity. Often, wasps, ants, beetles, spiders, and other insects will overwinter in firewood. Bringing the wood in can shake the pests loose, letting them free inside your home.

Keep your firewood stored off the ground and covered so it stays dry. Never allow your firewood to get wet or touch the soil since this can invite even more unwanted critters and worsen the problem.

Protect Your Home from Pests During the Winters with Buzz Boss

Buzz Boss offers comprehensive pest control services and can help prevent pests from taking control of your yard.

Our team of pest extermination professionals will carefully evaluate your situation and create a detailed elimination and prevention strategy designed specifically for your property. Book your pest control visit now! We serve the following regions: Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Okanagan.

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