Overwintering Pests in Commercial Facilities

Dec 14, 2020, 12:52 PM by Fred Speer

When temperatures drop and the sun sets sooner, it means winter is not far off. This usually sets off changes to our daily routines and humans are not the only ones impacted.

Pests react to winter’s arrival by looking for a warm location to stave off colder temperatures and dwindling food sources, and they will look to do that inside commercial facilities.

What is overwintering? For pests it simply means the process of reacting to winter conditions and finding a way to survive until spring arrives. Pests are survivalists by nature, and this is what they do.

Overwintering pests can include:

  • Rodents
  • Flies
  • Ladybugs
  • Box elders
  • Stink bugs
  • Caterpillars
  • Crickets
  • Moths

While rodents are a constant threat to commercial facilities, winter is an especially crucial time to make sure your rodent management program is working as it should. Rodents, particularly mice, are attracted to the warmth and accessible food sources commercial facilities, especially those engaged in food processing, storage or service, offer.

Once rodents gain access to a facility through a crack in the foundation, broken door sweep or in an incoming shipment, they won’t leave anytime soon. Mice will hunker down in a pallet of shrink-wrapped pet food stored in the corner of a warehouse or inside the warmth and relative safety of a wall void next to a processing line that produces food waste.

Norway and roof rats follow a similar path and will look to occupy the less visited areas of a facility such as the equipment ‘boneyard’ or drop ceilings and rafters or an office building or warehouse.

Insects including Asian lady beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, and box elder bugs are common overwintering visitors to commercial facilities. These insects will establish nests in wall voids, attics, drop ceilings, HVAC pipes and inside equipment.

The surprise for property managers, employees or customers usually comes on the first warm day in January or February when they unexpectedly swarm, usually in great numbers, to cause quite a commotion and disruption to the workday.

Another thing to remember about overwintering pests is that if they die off in wall voids or drop ceilings during their winter ‘retreat’ it could attract secondary pests looking for a meal.

Preventing Overwintering Pests

How do you prevent overwintering pests from entering your facility? It starts with a pro-active pest exclusion program. Exclusion can be a permanent solution to many pest-related issues, but it needs to be a priority for a facility’s maintenance staff after consultation with their pest management service provider.

  • Seal cracks and holes to prevent pests from entering your facility.Do a thorough inspection – inside and outside - to identify any potential cracks or holes in siding, foundation or places that may need to be caulked or where weatherstripping needs to be replaced.Pay special attention to areas around entry and loading doors and windows as these are prime places for insects to enter.

  • Install door sweeps on all exterior doors to deny insects and rodents easy access. A properly fitted door sweep can save you a lot of headaches.

  • Check screens on vents and around openings where pipes and utility lines enter the facility.

  • Don’t forget to check the roof for openings where pests – especially roof rats – could gain access without anyone noticing. Carefully inspect around HVAC units, vents and along the roof line. Trim tree limbs that could be in contact with the roof.

  • Inspect basements, crawlspaces and storage areas for any signs of pests including rodents. These are easy places for pests to winter unnoticed because they are places where humans don’t spend a lot of time.

  • Carefully inspect incoming shipments for signs of pest activity. While rodent droppings are an obvious sign, damaged packaging or an off odor can also mean pests are present. Don’t be afraid to reject a shipment if you suspect it could be pest-compromised.

Clark Pest Control also reminds clients that just because you don’t see pests, doesn’t mean they aren’t present in your facility. Pests like to inhabit places where people and activity are minimal. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to denying them access.

If your company is looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you protect your products, employees and customers, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.