North Carolina and Virginia Residents Be On the Lookout for These Winter Pests
You are most likely to encounter:
These are the most common winter pests, and they can fit into gaps and cracks that are about the size of a dime. They prefer to nest in secluded dark areas (e.g. basements, attics, between walls), and they often venture into your kitchen and other areas looking for food. Mice harbor all sorts of bacteria that can create health problems in humans, such as salmonellosis and diarrhea. Another big issue: they cause about five million dollars in damage each year in the US, and a quarter of house fires are caused by them gnawing on electrical wires
You may notice:
- Small droppings (less than ¼ inch) with pointed ends. (Rat droppings are blunt on both ends)
- Musky odor - the stronger the smell, the worse the infestation.
- Holes gnawed in out-of-sight areas (e.g. cupboards).
- Gnaw marks on furniture and walls.
- Noises. You may hear that tell-tale chewing, gnawing, and scurrying at night.
Rats may be a little less common: they can fit into holes about the size of a quarter and are drawn to food scraps (e.g. in trash, etc.). You’ll notice the same types of signs, but gnawed holes, droppings, and marks will be bigger.
Unlike pests such as mosquitoes, black flies, and gnats, bed bugs are active in the winter. They live mostly inside, so as long as your house is as warm as a spring day, they have no issues. Unfortunately, you will if they’ve made themselves at home. It is possible to carry these pests from an infested area into your home via your shoes, bags, clothes, and luggage.
When traveling, be sure to check beds (especially near the headboard) for dark, rusty spots. Bedbugs are experts at hiding and they’re silent, so you have to look for their excrement. You may also see blood on your sheets or pillows. They feed at night - on you - and their bites can be infuriatingly itchy and uncomfortable. Get help at the first sign! They can, and will, drive you crazy.
Roaches love small, dark spaces that are close to food and dirty clothes. They’re gross little beasts, aren’t they? In addition to crumbs, they’re attracted to food stains and even sweat on garments. The German Cockroach is most likely to invade the kitchen and bathroom as they love moisture. Roaches spread bacteria, can trigger allergies and can worsen respiratory conditions, like asthma.
You may notice an unpleasant odor on items they’ve come into contact with, very small, black, round droppings, smear marks in moist areas, and shed skin.
- Brown Recluse Spider
The Black Widow is the most dangerous spider in the US; the Brown Recluse is #2. They inhabit dark, isolated areas (e.g. basements, attics, crawlspaces), so be on the lookout. The Brown Recluse injects venom when it bites, and this can cause swelling, chills, fever, joint pain, faintness, and even seizures and coma. Most adults do not require extensive treatment and can recover just fine at home - but always see a doctor if you suspect you’ve been bitten. Serious complications can arise. Children should always be seen by a doctor or taken to the emergency room immediately.
If you live in an area that is more woodsy, you may encounter some bigger pests: raccoons. They, too, are looking for a warm place to winter over. In addition to potential property damage, they are a major host of rabies. Watch out for a strong smell of feces and/or urine, damage to shutters, shingles, vents, and chimney caps, and unexpected noises at night (scratching, whimpering, chattering).
Get Rid of Common Winter Pests
Prevention is often the best cure. Seal up any cracks, gaps, and holes before winter sets in, and in the case of raccoons, make sure your chimney caps are in good shape. Trim back trees and brush near your house, put food away, place trash in secure, covered bins, and put clothes in hampers.
If you are having a problem with pests and infestation, call Rid-a-Bug Exterminating today. Our experienced technicians know how to deal with even the most stubborn insects, rodents, and wildlife. We’ll help you reclaim your home and rest easier.