common winter pests in iowa

10 Common Winter Pests That Could Be in Your Home

December 13, 2017

Where do bugs go in the winter? When temperatures begin to drop, winter insects and other critters tend to head straight for our homes and businesses. Have you had this problem? If so - you are not alone! With an abundance of places for winter insects to hide out and make a home for themselves, it can be difficult to detect and remove them. Let's take a look at ten common winter pests and where these bugs go in the winter. They may be hiding in your Des Moines home throughout the cold Iowa winter.


10 Common Pest Problems During the Winter

1. Where can you find German cockroaches?

The German cockroach is an indoor species found in your home or business throughout the winter months. They prefer areas that have a lot of moisture, such as kitchens or bathrooms. These winter insects are most active at night when they are looking for food and water. During the day they are hiding within your walls in cracks or crevices.

Characteristics of German Cockroaches:

  • Brown in color
  • 5/8 inches in length
  • two black stripes behind their head

2. Where do spiders go in the winter?

As the weather cools down, one critter you'll find in your home or business is spiders. Winter pest control technicians typically find spiders in areas such as basements, attics, closets or crawlspaces. Although most are not harmful to people, there are a couple spiders in Iowa that can be dangerous!

Characteristics of Spiders:

  • Light to dark brown
  • Eight legs
  • 1/4 - 1/2 inches
  • No antenna
  • Round

3. Is there a mice infestation in your home?

One of the most common winter pests to find in your Des Moines home during the winter are mice. They may seem little and cute until you realize they are making your home theirs as well. If you see a mouse in your house, it's important to get a mice exterminator to your house right away. Not only can mice infest your home quickly, but they are also a major health hazard. The most common time for mice to come out is at night, since they are nocturnal. They eat people food, fit through holes as small as a half inch and can even jump as high as a foot.

Characteristics of Mice:

  • 2-3 inches in length
  • Weighing less than 1 ounce
  • Grey or light brown in color
  • Small head, black eyes, large ears

4. Do you have bats in the attic?

Homeowners tend to find bats in their attics or basements. Through the colder months, these common winter pests are looking for a warm and safe place to nest. There are certain signals to look for if you think you have bats in your home. When they get inside, a few things to notice are fecal droppings, brown or black stains by entry points such as windows and scratching noises.

Characteristics of Bats:

  • Brown, black or tan in color
  • Largest bats have a wingspan of five feet and weigh 2.2 pounds
  • Smallest bats have a wingspan of 6 inches and weigh .07 ounces

5. Where do raccoons go in the winter?

Though raccoons are more commonly found in your home or business throughout the spring, these critters are common winter pests as well. Raccoons typically enjoy hiding in your attics, chimneys or under porches and decks.

Characteristics of Raccoons:

  • Gray and black in color
  • 24 to 38 inches long
  • 4 to 23 pounds

6. Are you bringing firewood pests inside?

We all know how amazing it can be to have the wood burning fireplace going in the winter, creating a cozy and comfortable space in our homes. That is, until that wood brings in an abundance of unwanted winter insects. These winter bugs living in the cracks of your firewood may include ants, beetles, termites and more.

How to Keep Firewood Pests Out:

  • Keep firewood at least three feet from your home or business
  • Store firewood off the ground
  • Stack firewood away from any trees
  • Never keep firewood indoors

7. How do you get bed bugs inside the house?

Over the years, bed bugs have become more and more prevalent in American homes, especially throughout the winter. Bed bugs are most often brought into homes from items such as furniture and clothing from traveling. As a homeowner, it is crucial to thoroughly check items you buy on Amazon, Craigslist, Ebay or even local places such as Goodwill. Another reason why these are known as winter insects is because people are usually traveling more to escape the colder weather. Check your bags for these common winter pests before bringing them inside your home when returning from a trip.

Characteristics of Bed Bugs:

  • 1/8 inches long
  • Brown
  • Oval bodies
  • Sometimes mistaken for ticks

8. Where do ants go in the winter?

Finding carpenter ants in your home or business throughout the year is never a good sign, especially during the cooler months. For a typical homeowner it is okay to see a few carpenter ants here and there in your home during the summer. However, if you find them in the winter you could be in trouble. Carpenter ants can be one of the most destructive winter insects for your home and tend to create colonies quickly, so it's important to contact winter pest control experts right away.

Characteristics of Carpenter Ants:

  • Dark bodies
  • Narrow waists
  • Elbowed antennas
  • Front wings longer than back wings

9. Are you getting rid of rats this winter?

Along with mice, rats are also common winter pests homeowners tend to find throughout the colder months. The most common rats people discover in Iowa are Norway rats. Like mice, rats bring with them various diseases and can cause damage to your home.

Characteristics of Norway Rats:

  • Brown fur
  • 16 inches long
  • 7 to 18 ounces
  • Small ears

10. Where do flies go in the winter?

If you begin to see more flies around your home during the winter, they are most likely cluster flies. In fact, our pest professionals recently spotted cluster flies in the Des Moines area. These specific winter insects are seeking shelter through the cooler months, and your attic, basement or walls are the perfect place to nest.

Characteristics of Cluster Flies:

  • Black/silvery black
  • Overlapped wings
  • Slow moving/sluggish
  • Grouped/clustered by windows or attics

Protect Your Des Moines Home From Common Winter Insects & Pests!

Whether we like to admit it or not, winter insects and other pests like to make their way into our homes or businesses at all times of the year, especially during the cold winter season. Have you seen or heard any of these ten common winter pests in your home recently? Have no fear, Preferred Pest Control can take care of the problem! As the leading Des Moines winter pest control, we can take care of the problem in no time. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (515) 415-5550 today!

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