The warmer months are almost over. It’s that time of the year when we either leave our homes and enjoy a vacation or receive guests to spend the holidays with. Unfortunately, some of these guests come uninvited and even play hide-and-seek with us. I’m talking about winter pests that don’t come knocking. Most of Texas will experience a mild winter, but the northern portion, according to a forecast, will have to bear a potentially snowy winter this year. Most of the summer’s harvests are also gone, so these unwanted guests will be seeking not just warm nooks but sources of food, as well, and what better place to inhabit than inside the comfort of our homes.
Generally, insects are cold-blooded creatures and, therefore, are more active during the warmer months. That doesn’t mean, though, that they stay inactive during winter. Let’s take a look at some of these common pests that try to overwinter in our gardens or inside our homes and even share our holiday feasts.
There are species of ants that are still active during the winter, like the leaf-cutter ants. For the southern part of Texas where winter is mild, this fungus-growing species may be feeding on the leaves of what should remain of our most cherished plants this holiday. Household ants like the Pharaoh ants, the most difficult indoor pest to control due to their ability to survive conventional household control treatment, may be feasting on the sweet and fatty food we keep in our pantries. This species may carry with them pathogens, like salmonella and staphylococcus, which are harmful to humans, so we throw away most of the infested and contaminated foods.
Another pest that may go unnoticed inside our pantries is beetles. Often they are brought inside our houses from infested food packages. They can lay eggs in cereals, grains, flour, pasta, beans, nuts, and dried fruits. They may not pose a serious threat to humans, but they should cost us our food stores that should be discarded.
The only rodent that we could probably love is the cheerful Mickey Mouse. Any other kind is troublesome. Rodents multiply fast, so catching them early is helpful. Mice like grains, but can also munch on other types of food.
Cockroaches also can multiply quickly, so if we don’t like to see them crawling into our kitchen, flying on our festive dinner table, or landing on our guest’s shoulders, tackle them and make sure to get rid of them fast.
Where it is warm, like in attics or basements, unused boxes, and dark, undisturbed corners, we might find spiders in them. Spiders usually feed on insects, so they might help to get rid of other pests seeking shelter inside our homes. However, some species may be dangerous and deadly, so it’s best to keep them out of our abodes, especially this holiday season.
6. Fleas and Ticks
If we have pets inside our homes, chances are high that we would find fleas or ticks seeking warmth in their fur. Fleas are blood feeders and can transmit infections to our pets. Ticks also bite and can cause many diseases to pets and even to humans.
The colder climate will reduce the activities of termites, but surely won’t drive them away. They have survival strategies to make it through the chilly nights and days. The heat coming from inside our homes lures them in. We might spot them in the firewood that we have collected outside. Unknowingly, we have brought them in as well. Most often they are already inside the house, in the cracks of wooden furniture, or inside an interior wall, and they will probably be singing, “Baby, it’s cold outside,” and, thus, will stay hidden to enjoy the pleasant climate inside.
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