What to do when overwintering pests emerge

|  February 17, 2017
Photo: ©iStock.com/Ian_Redding

Photo: ©iStock.com/Ian_Redding

Overwintering pests, like the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) pictured above, can be problematic from autumn through spring. In the fall, clients react when hundreds, or even thousands of insects converge on the south-facing walls of their homes or businesses in an attempt to soak up the last warm rays of sunlight. When temperatures dip, the pests venture indoors to seek harborage through the cold winter months, remaining relatively inactive for the entire season.

As warm temperatures and longer days begin in late February and early March, overwintering pests begin to emerge. They sometimes find their way into buildings — causing alarm for the people who live and work inside.

Overwintering pest populations’ re-emergence isn’t always synchronous. As a result, clients may call repeatedly to report a few sluggish insects seeking an exit around windows or flying toward lights. To avoid costly and unnecessary callbacks this season, take the time to educate your clients in advance that a couple of beetles don’t require an unscheduled service visit. Let clients know — especially those that have a recurring overwintering pest problem, or one that was particularly problematic in the autumn — that the insects they are seeing in the spring are not new arrivals. Rather, these insects escaped control in the fall and successfully hunkered down inside the walls for a long winter’s nap.

Also remind customers that overwintering pests found inside the structure don’t bite or cause damage. They can easily be shooed outdoors or vacuumed for easy removal. By communicating with your customers and setting their expectations early, they will be less likely to request a special service in the spring.

Contributor Dr. Jim Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), at jfredericks@pestworld.org.

1 Comment on "What to do when overwintering pests emerge"

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  1. Dr. Jim,

    Good article, I’m sharing it with my inside and outside staff!

    This is especially important to our Fall Invader customers, but even our Perimeter Quarterly Pest Control customers might experience the emergence of paper wasps, lady beetles, stink bug, box elder bugs and kudzu bugs (FYI, we are experiencing 60 to 70 degree weather on a regular basis this winter in TN).

    Thank you,

    Dayton Hylton