Overwintering Insects in Your Home and Lawn
Have you ever asked yourself, “where do insects go in the winter”? The answer may not be what you want to hear. Some insects die off when the temperatures drop but others have ways of surviving through the winter. This is called overwintering.
So, what does overwintering mean?
Overwintering is the process by which an animal spends the winter. For many animals, including some insects, this can mean hibernation or migration. However, this isn’t an option for every insect.
Overwintering insects may take up residence in your lawn. They will find a cozy spot under a rock or log to snuggle up with a bunch of their friends to conserve heat. Others dig down into the ground, mulch, or even your leftover leaf piles to find shelter from the cold. But, for most, the best place to overwinter is in your nice, warm home.
Just like you, insects need food, water, and warmth to survive. In the winter, these things are hard to come by. That’s why many insects will take up residence in your home and lawn.
These are the 6 overwintering insects in your home and lawn
Grubs are a problem that, many homeowners will tell you, are incredibly difficult to deal with on your own. These chubby c-shaped grubs live under your grass, chewing on your grassroots. They can do an incredible amount of damage to lawns, destroying huge patches of grass before they transform into their adult form: Japanese beetles and European Chafers.
Not only will grubs eat your lawn themselves, but they also attract skunks and moles. These two pests will dig up your lawn looking for tasty grubs to eat.
If you had a grub problem throughout the fall and are hoping that the winter will kill them off, we’ve got some bad news. As the weather cools off, grubs will dig down deeper underground to wait out the winter. Once the weather warms up in the spring, the grubs will dig their way back up and resume munching on your lawn's roots.
They will start up right where they left off. By May and June, your lawn can suffer extensive damage.
Planning ahead is a great way to protect your lawn. Here at Alliance Landscaping, we have a 7-step lawn care program that includes grub control. We can help protect your lawn from these destructive pests and keep it looking lush and healthy all year long!
These picnic spoilers are probably the most common pests in the country. These overwintering insects live in colonies that can number in the hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions! If you see one then it’s safe to safe that there are probably a lot more.
When the temperatures drop ants seek out the warmth and in the winter your home is definitely the warmest place around. These tiny, tough, troopers will find gaps in your window and door seals, holes in your foundation, or cracks in your walls. Then these ants come marching in.
Once inside, ants can cause quite a bit of damage. Some chew through wood while others will decimate your pantry. If you have ants, it’s important to act fast. Once they find their way inside your warm, food-filled home, they won’t ever want to leave.
3 Common Ants Found in New Hampshire:
- Carpenter Ants: Known for being big and bad, these giants among ants are known for their ability to chew tunnels through the wood of your home. When you have carpenter ants it’s important to eliminate them quickly.
- Pavement Ants: Some of the most common ants in New Hampshire, these ants usually like to live in cracks of the pavement. When the temperatures cool off they can find their way into your home through cracks in your foundation.
- Odorous House Ants: These guys, as their name suggests, emit a distinctive and unpleasant smell when smushed. The smell is described as being similar to rotten coconuts.
If you find ants in your home then it’s time to act. Buying sprays at the store won’t always work. If these overwintering ants are sprayed, they will move their nest to a different spot in your house and continue to multiply. Properly storing your food is important as well as fixing any bad seals or cracks around the house. Here at Alliance Landscaping, we offer a full coverage surface insect program that can help you take back your lawn from these pests and prevent them from entering your home!
Fleas and Ticks
That’s right, these dangerous little blood-suckers are still a threat in the winter. When the temperatures drop, fleas and ticks will begin to move closer and closer to the warmth of your home. If you have pets that go outside during the winter, they may be coming back inside with some unwanted hitchhikers.
Once inside, you could have an infestation on your hands pretty quick. Flea eggs are smooth and will fall off their host, landing in your carpeting or furniture. From here, the eggs hatch and the fleas continue to multiply. Flea infestations happen quickly and can be difficult to get rid of.
Ticks are also able to live inside, though they don’t multiply as fast as fleas. These dangerous bloodsuckers overwinter in low-hanging brush, long grass, and piles of leaves to stay warm enough to survive the frigid winter. If there is very little snowfall and if the temperatures rise above 40 they will become active again, seeking a warm host to latch on to.
Between the 2 of these pests, there are a number of diseases that can be spread to humans. Fleas were famously responsible for the black plague, whereas ticks are responsible for the spread of at least 15 different diseases including Lyme disease and Powassan Virus.
To prevent a flea and tick infestation, make sure to check your pets after being outside. Keep trees and bushes trimmed and away from your home. Don’t leave any piles of leaves out on your lawn as they provide warm spots for these overwintering insects.
When spring arrives, it’s incredibly important to take anti-tick measures to keep your pets and family safe.
Here are a few tips to keeping ticks off your property:
- Keep your lawn mowed: Ticks love to wait in the long grass for a host to brush by!
- Remove any dense brush: This is a popular hiding place for ticks.
- Keep play equipment safe: Move any play equipment away from the edge of the woods, dense brush, or long grass.
As always, check your children, your pets, and yourself for ticks whenever coming back inside. At Alliance Landscaping we offer tick control services to help keep you, your family, and your pets, safe from ticks!
Not all pests overwinter in your home, some prefer to stay in your yard. Chinch bugs are one of those pests. These pests are one of the most destructive pests for lawns.
Chinch bugs suck the juice out of grass while injecting an anticoagulant that obstructs vascular tissues in the plant. Essentially, they dam up the inside of the plant, blocking water and plant food from moving through the plant. The damage of a Chinch bug looks a lot like drought. Grass dries out, withers, and dies in large patches as the chinch bugs spread and multiply.
When winter comes around these voracious pests overwinter in dead trees and at the base of your grass. Chinch bugs love to hide out under the thatch, spending the winter here, waiting for the temperatures to rise.
These overwintering insects can also be found in large numbers around the foundation of homes and buildings, looking for a way in to beat the cold. They have even been known to make their way into basements as well!
Come springtime these little guys will wake up, hungry, and start their feast again.
The best way to keep these guys out of your yard would be too make sure your lawn is healthy. Remove any thatching and keep your lawn well hydrated. If you need extra help, Alliance Landscaping offers a full-coverage surface insect program that will help eliminate chinch bugs and other unwanted lawn pests!
Brown Marmorated Stink bugs
These odorous pests are pretty new to the US. Brown marmorated stink bugs originated in Asia and were only introduced to the US in the late 1990s. They can be identified by their shield-shaped body and the white bands on their antenna.
Ever since arriving in this country, stink bugs have been destroying crops and causing headaches wherever they appear. As their name suggests, when crushed, these little stinkers emit a foul odor. These bugs flourish in the spring and summer but when the fall comes and the temperatures drop they prepare for overwintering.
In order to survive the winters, stink bugs need warmth. As the temperatures fall, these overwintering insects will congregate on the sides of houses and other buildings. If there is a crack or a gap anywhere on the house, brown marmorated stink bugs will squeeze into your home and take up residence.
The worst part? Where there is one, there are sure to be more. Sometimes dozens more, hundreds more, even thousands more!
To prevent the brown marmorated stink bugs from entering your home in the winter, make sure to seal up any gaps. They will usually enter in through holes in window screens, cracks in walls, squeezing through gaps in the siding, door and window frames. If there is a hole big enough for a stink bug, then it’s going to get in and you don’t want these smelly overwintering insects in your home!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it a hundred times: spiders are helpful to have in your home. They will take care of all of the pests listed above, keeping your house virtually pest free. That being said, nobody likes spiders!
Just the sight of these 8-legged creeps is enough to send people running out of their homes. What is it that creeps people out the most? Is it their many legs? Their 6-8 beady eyes? The creepy way they run across the floor? The way they drop from the ceiling on their thread of web? It could be any of these things or all of these things.
The bottom line is: people are not excited about having a spider in the house.
Not only are these spiders creepy to look at but some of them, like the black widow and brown recluse, are venomous. A bite from these spiders can send you right to the hospital.
So what are the common spiders in New Hampshire?
- American House Spider: This freaky fellow is a relative of the black widow but, don’t worry, it’s bite doesn’t pack nearly as big of a punch. This spider is very common throughout all of the US.
- Jumping spider: These jumpy little guys are actually kinda cute, depending on who you ask. Bites from jumping spiders are extremely uncommon and never dangerous. Jumping spiders don’t spin webs and, as their name suggests, they jump around to catch their prey.
- Wolf Spider: These spiders are pretty scary looking. They are big and fast, preferring to hunt their prey than spin webs. They are often confused brown recluse spiders but, unlike the recluse, wolf spider venom is actually harmless to humans. Female wolf spiders carry their eggs and babies on their back. Not a pretty picture!
- Brown Recluse: While these spiders aren’t necessarily common in New Hampshire, they are still noteworthy. These small brown spiders have thin legs and a distinctive dark violin shape on their abdomen. Bites from them can cause necrosis, or the death of skin cells, around the bite. As the years get warmer these spiders have been expanding their territory further north. They will live wherever it’s warm enough for them.
Need extra help? Call the professionals!
Here at Alliance Landscaping, we believe that your home and lawn are just as unique as you are. This means that our treatment plans are customized to fit your needs. Our 7-step lawn care program, perimeter tick control services, and full coverage surface insect program work together to keep your lawn free of pests like grubs, ticks, fleas, chinch bugs, and many more creepy crawlies. Contact us for more information or call us at (603) 704-4230 to set up an appointment!