Where do pests go in winter?

Jan 27, 2023, 16:53 PM by Fred Speer

Not all pests head south for the winter. Just because the leaves and temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean that pests aren’t trying to gain access to your home. In some instances, cooler, wet weather emboldens certain pests to enter your living space.

An array of pests, from mice to bed bugs, remain active all year ’round. And don’t let the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset fool you. Just because you don’t see pests in your home doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And so is the threat they present to people, property, and food.

Contrary to belief, rodents and other disease-transmitting pests, such as cockroaches and flies, don’t simply die off in the winter. They – along with wasps, hornets, and spiders – seek out warm and dry attics, crawlspaces, or wall voids during winter, waiting for the warmth of spring and summer to return.

This behavior is commonly called overwintering.

Why do pests overwinter?

The pest control definition of overwintering is how a pest passes the winter season. Many insect pests overwinter as adults, pupae, or eggs. This can be done inside buildings, under tree bark, or beneath fallen leaves or other plant matter on the ground, among other places.

In this regard, pests mirror human behavior and look to shield themselves from the adverse weather conditions associated with winter. Pests overwinter by finding a warm place to call home; in many cases, this means your home. Pests will enter structures, mulch, leaves, or soil to protect themselves from the low temperatures.

Pests look at your house as their winter vacation home. On occasion, they will make themselves known during the overwintering period by venturing into the living spaces of a house. But, most often, they will emerge in springtime when temperatures begin to rise. This is a big reason why there is such an increase in visibility of pests in and around your home in the spring. They’ve been there all along; it’s just that they may not have been very active.

Common winter pests

Which pests are most likely to try to get inside your home during winter?

  • Rodents: The house mouse is the most frequently encountered rodent – not only in California, but across the United States. The National Pest Management Association estimates that 21 million homes across the U.S. will have a rodent infestation. Mice can cause serious property damage by chewing through drywall and wires, which can then spark an electrical fire. Roof rats are also known to try to enter attics and crawlspaces.
  • Ants: These social insects are very adept at overwintering outdoors. When colder temperatures arrive, their body temperature – and productivity – decreases, so they seal up their colony and hunker down in the soil or under rocks until spring has sprung. They will, however, make a trail for inside a home if heavy rain flushes them out of their outdoor harborage.
  • Cockroaches: The insects are some of the most adaptable creatures in the world, but are they built for cold weather? Most types of cockroaches can survive year ’round if they can access protected harborage. For example, German cockroaches prefer indoor humid habitats close to food and moisture, and can often be found in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Spiders Spiders prefer to spin webs in undisturbed places, such as closets, attics, crawl spaces and basements. They also can be found inside cardboard boxes where seasonal items (e.g., decorations, clothing) are stored, and along window moldings.

Call California’s trusted, friendly pest control expert at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at to schedule a home wellness inspection. Together, we can defuse your pest problems before they start.

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

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