Are you dealing with an insect infestation in your yard or home?

Your solution may be to wait until winter for all of those pests to go away, but that’s not always an effective solution.

In this article, let’s answer whether frost kills bugs and stops infestations once and for all.

Does the Frost Actually Kill Bugs?

While unexpected, prolonged frosts can take out a large population of insects outdoors, declining temperatures don’t always equate to the complete eradication of pests. In fact, experts claim that temperatures must drop below freezing–both day and night for at least 5 days–for pest populations to decline.

For this reason, you may even notice a spike in bugs around your home as insects search for a location to overwinter.

Insects and other pests are primarily motivated by survival and resources. Once the cold hits and the outdoors are no longer habitable, they’ll find the nearest warm and dry place to take shelter.

Some of their hiding places may include:

  • Under tree bark
  • Burrowing underground
  • In piles of leaves
  • Inside your attic or basement

Additionally, several species of insects have developed the ability to freeze their bodies and hibernate through the winter, only emerging once the ice or soil they’re trapped within thaws–kind of creepy, right? For these reasons, it’s important to maintain adequate pest-prevention practices, learn the signs of a pest infestation, and understand the habits of the insects most likely to survive the frost.

several insects can combat the cold

Which Insects Are Most Impacted by Frost?

When it comes down to it, nearly all insect populations will decline if exposed to freezing temperatures for long periods. However, several insects can combat the cold by overwintering underground, in your home, or in any warm and dry location.

Insects that disappear over the winter include:

  • Bees: Our favorite, fuzzy pollinators will often seal themselves in their hives, protecting the queen from the cold until the next Spring. As a result, you’ll rarely spot them throughout the colder months.
  • Wasps: By the time the first frost rolls around, most wasps in PA will perish from the cold and age. The few remaining members of the colony will often migrate into the crevices of buildings or under tree bark, where they’ll remain dormant through the winter.
  • Ants: These helpful little decomposers/soil aerators generally spend the winter in their colonies underground, even going as far as to seal off anthills/entrances to better insulate the tunnels. Like bees, ants tend to focus their efforts on protecting their queen.

While other pest populations may seem to diminish, you’ll still likely spot lingering members throughout the cold months.

Bugs that Are Active In the Winter

As previously stated, a quick frost isn’t likely to wipe out a large portion of the insect population; more commonly, a brief chill is just the warning pests need to begin their search for shelter.

As far as household pests go, there are two main categories you need to be aware of: overwintering pests and continually active pests.

Overwintering pests are insects that tend to go into a dormant state in the winter, also known as diapause. During this time, insects tend to migrate to warm, secluded areas to hibernate, such as your attic, walls, or crawl spaces. This category includes such common PA pests as:

  • Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs
  • Asian Lady Beetles
  • Boxelder Bugs
  • Cluster Flies

While these insects may reside within your home during the winter, you aren’t likely to see them due to their preference for secluded spaces.

However, there are several species of active pests that you are likely to encounter, including:

These pests don’t necessarily go dormant; instead, they’ll move indoors and continue their regularly-scheduled business.

How to Prevent Winter Pests

Ideally, keeping a pest-free home year-round is the goal of every homeowner. As such, it’s important to continue treatment and prevention even after the year’s first frost.

Sealing gaps in siding doors and windows is always an effective preventative measure, while treating potential entry points will keep your home free from arthropod intruders.

If you’re still struggling with pests through winter, contact the professionals at The Pest Rangers below. We offer year-round preventative maintenance services to ensure your home is pest-free.

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