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What Are Overwintering Pests?
Given the name overwintering pests, you probably have a general idea as to what overwintering pests are. If you figured they are pests that travel indoors before the winter month, you would have figured right. That’s exactly what they are and what they do. In Oklahoma City, you’ll find that most insects overwinter, meaning they seek shelter inside to avoid undesirable snow and frost conditions. As it just so turns out, the wall voids, basements, and attics provide the perfect environmental conditions for overwintering insects.
Understanding The Types Of Overwinter Insects
The thing about overwintering insects that makes them all the more complex is that you aren’t just dealing with one classification of insect when you are dealing with these pests. When dealing with these pests, you could be dealing with a variety of insects. Regardless, detection and elimination will require learning to properly identify said pests. Each pest and insect has different temperaments and mentalities. Removing them from the home will require different approaches. Regardless, you’re going to need to know exactly what type of insect you are dealing with.
Spotting a boxelder bug is not something you’ll forget. It would be a memorable experience because of the red markings on the bug. These pests can grow to be about ½ inch in length with flat black wings, but it is their unique red markings that make them stand out. That aside, they get their name from the fact that they commonly feed on boxelder seeds. They also feed on maples, cheery, and ash trees. These guys don’t bite, sting, or even reproduce in the home, meaning that isn’t virtually a physical threat at all. They do, however, emit stains and unpleasant odors when crushed. Avoid crushing them at all costs!
Asian Ladybugs (Asian Lady Beetles)
At first glance, to the untrained eye, the Asian Beetle is going to look like your common ladybug. They are different because the Asian Lady Beetle doesn’t want to be in your home. They are only there to wait out the winter, otherwise, they’d be outside in your gardens and orchards. These troublesome pests have been known to bite, but there were no transmissions of diseases related to such cases. These bugs also stain and give off foul odors when crushed. Be extremely careful when trying to eliminate these guys and gals.
Unlike other flies, the Cluster fly would live its entire life cycle outdoors. The Cluster fly is so adamant about staying outdoors that it will seek shelter outside before venturing indoors. It will oftentimes take up residence behind the bark of specific trees or under loose wooden planks. These bugs originate from the Earthworm, and won’t start showing themselves in the home until the weather turns warm. If you see them in the home, they are likely trying to get back outside. Just giving them a helping hand won’t be enough to eliminate your entire infestation.
Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bugs
Here is another one that would spend its entire life outside if possible. The only problem is, it just isn’t possible always. They will, however, stay outside when they can, taking up residence under the bark of pine and conifer tree. When they do enter the property, they’ll do so from tiny cracks and crevices in foundations, doors, windows, and walls. Given their ability to only grow ¾ inches, they can get into some of the tiniest openings. Along with this, they also feed on pine cones and their seeds during the summer months. While they are only ¾ inches in length, they are bigger than most overwintering insects. Their sudden presence in the home could be pretty shocking.
Stink Bugs (Brown Marmorated)
Most people in Oklahoma City know these bugs as stink bugs because of their innate ability to emit foul odors and leave behind unwanted stains, but some in the technical community will refer to them as brown marmorated bugs. This is likely because of their marbled pattern shielded back. These bugs didn’t make their way to the United States until recently, but their numbers have burst since coming. During the summer months, these species will prefer to feed on vegetable crops, fruit trees, and even some ornamental plants. They can easily eradicate an entire crop. The best way to get rid of these bugs is to simply vacuum them up and empty them outside in corresponding trash cans.
Learning The Signs Of An Overwintering Infestation
Overwintering pests usually don’t start to show their presence in the property until spring or when the walls naturally warm-up from sun exposure. There are some instances when the HVAC system will draw these bugs out. It’ll come on, heat the walls, and make the bugs think the weather is turning. Regardless, the result is the same, the bugs will rear their ugly heads. This is both a good and bad thing, as seeing just one critter in the home likely means you are dealing with an infestation. Although their presence in the home is accidental, these bugs are not ones you want lingering on the property.
How Do I Prevent Overwintering Pests?
Prevent the infestation before it becomes an infestation is key with any insect. This is, however, much more difficult than you would imagine. That being said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can’t do. It also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. With overwintering insects, you’ll have to start outside. This is where the critters are coming from.
In addition to this, there are some other key things you’ll want to consider. Here will be some problem areas that you’ll want to keep an eye on:
Bricks And Mortar Joint
Brick is a popular building material in Oklahoma City, but it creates some unique problems when utilized in specific situations. When brick material is used it has to be sealed with caulking or mortar. This is just the way it is, but that caulk recesses. It isn’t flush with the face of the bricks. This of the letter W or M. When you place a piece of molding or trim on the bricks that recessed area creates a gap. This gap will allow critter access. These areas will need to be properly sealed.
Underneath Window Frames
Windows are also unique construction materials utilized in abundance in Oklahoma City. Once again, they create some unique problems, but it is only because of the way they are installed. When installed, the professional will caulk and seal on the sides and top. He or she will, however, not seal the bottoms. This is because there is no threat of moisture or water leak here. There is, however, a threat of insect infestation. This is something you can clear up with the right caulking or sealants.
Fascia Boards Over Wooden Clapboard
When fascia board is installed over wooden clapboard it creates the same unique problem that is created when molding or trim is installed over brick. The only difference here is, the gap is much wider. The problem is rectified in the same manner, just with a different material. This one usually requires the utilization of foam or spray insulation.
Soffit And Attic Vents
Soffit and attic vents are essential components of any property. They let in the proper airflow to keep moisture at bay. While they are necessary components, they also create some unique properties. They leave openings into the home. These openings will have to be sealed, but they will have to be sealed in a manner that still provides air to pass through. This is why an aluminum screen usually makes the best sealant material in these situations.
In every home or building there are going to be spots where pipes, wires, tubes, and other utilities pass through the wall. These areas might potentially later need access for maintenance or repair purposes. This is why you have to be extremely careful when choosing a sealing material. You’ll have to choose something less permanent or something that can easily be removed.
Utilizing The Right Materials
It is important to seal all gaps and openings, but it is just as important to do so with the right materials. Here is a list of some of the common materials we utilize in the industry.
Foam Insulation: This material is flexible and can be stuffed into long gaps. This is available in a spray and a tube. The can is a more permanent option, whereas the tubes can likely later be removed depending on how they are installed.
Aluminum Screening: This material is unique as it is designed in a manner that will still let air pass through.
Hardware Cloth: Hardware cloth acts like a heavy-duty screen.
Pot Scrubbers: This one fits extremely nicely into small gaps and openings.
Caulking: Caulking is best used when there won’t be any potential movement. Brick is the perfect example.
Sealants: Sealants are best used when there might be movement from warping and bending. Aluminum and wood would be the best examples here.
As you can see, there is a lot to overwintering pests. Whether it is elimination, detection, or prevention you are concerned with, you can give our office a call and we’ll gladly dispatch out a trained professional to access the situation.