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Learning To Identify Overwintering Pests
You don’t really have to be a pest management professional to discern what overwintering pests are. You can kind of just look at the name and get a good understanding that these are pests that like to basically hibernate. They hide out during the winter to avoid the frost and snow. This is pertinent for some of these pests in specific locations because it can kill them. Especially when faced with the harsh winter weather that Norfolk emits. Simply put, overwinter pests are pests that enter nearby structures and buildings to avoid the winter. As it turns out, wall voids and attics spaces provide the perfect environmental conditions for such critters.
What Type Of Pests Overwinter In Norfolk?
There is a variety of overwintering throughout the world. However, there are only a select few that you’ll have to worry about in Norfolk. These would be the boxelder bug, the Asian Beetle, the Cluster Fly, the Lead-Footed Pine Seed Bug, and the Stink Bug. Learning everything you can about these critters and their temperaments will go a long way to helping with elimination. That’s the best and first place to start.
The Boxelder Bug
This one here might be a minor garden pest during the summer, but it can be a major nuisance during the winter when they start venturing onto nearby properties. They get their name from the fact they feed on boxelder trees, maple, cherry, and ash. They’ll eat the fallen seeds from these trees. They grow only to be ½ inch in length, but are extremely distinctive with their red outlying markers. They have flat, black wings, but are also equipped with red markers that make them stand out in a crowd.
The Asian Beetle
No one could blame you if you mistook the Asian Lady Beetle for the ladybug because they are extremely similar in appearance. And while it might be referred to as the Asian Lady Beetle, its temperament is anything but lady-like. These guys get inside your wall and aggregate, leaving stains and messes behind wherever they go. While they don’t bite or sting, it has been said that they taste awful and emit a foul odor when crushed.
Here is a group of insects that are entirely different from that of other overwintering pests. And, that is because they would choose to live their entire lives outside if possible. They are so adamant about living outdoors that they’ll oftentimes try to survive behind loose tree bark or wooden planks before moving into nearby properties. Unfortunately, the harnesses of Norfolk winters push most of these bugs inside. They come from the earthworm and are also known for leaving behind quite the mess wherever they go.
Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bugs
Here is another one that would rather spend most of its life outside and it oftentimes tries as well, taking up residence behind pine and conifer trees before moving into the home. These guys have caused quite a fright or two because of their larger size. When they start appearing in the home, they start appearing in large numbers, making them frightening. The adults of this species can grow to be nearly a while inch long, which is pretty large for an insect when all things are considered.
With a name like a stink bug, you’d think you already knew everything you needed to know about that critter. Not true! Indeed, these bugs are known for excreting an offensive smell from their glands, which is how they garnered their name, but there is so much more to know about the bug. They grow to about ½ inch in length and have a shielded brown marbled back. The bugs weren’t actually released into the United States until just a few decades ago. They were introduced from Asia. During the summer months, these critters like to feed on vegetable crops, fruit trees, and even some ornamental plants. They can create quite a concern for anyone with delicate crops.
Spotting The Early Signs Of An Overwintering Infestation
It usually isn’t until the spring months that homeowners start spotting overwintering pests in the home. This is usually about the time the weather turns and the walls start to warm. This is pretty much what activates the bugs. When the wall voids warm, the bugs will come out of hiding. Interestingly enough, most of them are just trying to get back outdoors, but get further turned around in the process and end up more lost in the property. Spotting just one or two of these bugs in the homes could be an early warning sign that you are dealing with overwintering pests.
Most people just choose to vacuum them up and dispose of them outdoors, but this isn’t always an acceptable means of pest control. To attack the situation with the most efficiency, you must first figure out how the bugs are entering the home. They usually do so through tiny little cracks and crevices in the foundations, walls, ceilings, eaves, and roof lines.
Preventing Overwintering Pests
As was mentioned, to efficiently attack an overwintering pest problem, you are going to have to seal off all entry points. Unfortunately, this is more difficult than most might imagine. Just saying it sounds easy, but there is a lot to the whole situation. Not only do you need to know which areas to seal, but you need to know what materials to use. Here’s how you’ll want to get started:
Bricks And Mortar Joints: Brick is a beautiful and popular building material in Norfolk. It provides a lot of unique opportunities. However, when utilizing in specific situations with specific materials it also creates some unique problems. For instance, when bricks are placed side-by-side they have to be sealed with mortar. This mortar never reaches the face of the bricks. There’s always a gap and this isn’t a problem until you place mold or trim over top of the build. When doing so it creates gaps. Gaps that will have to be sealed r bugs will enter the home through them.
Bottom Of Window Frames: Windows are essential building components. Many would say they are the soul into the home. However, they do create some unique properties as well when installed. This is if the installing technician does not seal the bottom of the window frames. And, most do not because it’s not pertinent for water leaks or moisture. Sealing underneath the window frame will be essential for keeping out bugs, however.
Fascia Boards Over Wooden Clapboard: Fascia is another extremely popular building material commonly used in Norfolk. It, however, also creates a similar problem that brick creates when installed. It creates the same problem, but the only difference is, it creates much larger gaps. These gaps usually have to be stuffed with foam insulation because they are so large.
Soffits And Attic Vents: Soffits and attic vents are essential for any building. Without these components, a build won’t properly ventilate, creating tons of moisture problems. While most of these components are properly sealed upon installation, it will be pertinent to periodically check them. Aluminum screening usually is the best material, as it still allows air to pass through but blocks critters from entering.
Utility Openings: With any building, there are always going to be vents, pipes, tubes, and wires that penetrate through the side of the building. These openings will have to be properly sealed with the proper materials. Keep in mind that this can be done in a number of ways, but stuffing the gaps with flexible, breathable material is the best approach because it is highly likely that these areas will have to be accessed later for repair and maintenance purposes. Do not use anything that will be permanent, as you will later regret it.
The Proper Sealing Materials
Throughout this article, you heard mention of sealing cracks and crevices to prevent critters from entering the home. You also heard a lot of talk about sealing other potential entry points like the ones mentioned above. However, just as important as it is to seal these potential openings, it is just as important to use the right materials. Not using the right materials to seal these potential entry points could only create potential problems. Problems that would much better be better avoided. Here is a list of common materials that we often utilize in the pest industry:
Caulking: You are likely familiar with this sealant, as it comes in a tube or tube-like applicator and is applied with a gun or sometimes straight from the tube. Either way, this is a sealant that is best utilized when there won’t be potential movement. Brick would be the perfect example.
Sealant: Similar to that of caulking, but quite a bit different right down at the surface. This is one that is best utilized when there will be potential expansion. Aluminum and wood are the perfect examples
Foam Insulation: This one comes in both a can and a flexible tube. The can is more for permanent situations, we are the tubes are flexible and can be stuffed into larger gaps.
Aluminum Screening: This material usually comes available in aluminum and metal and can be rolled up. It is best used when there is a need for airflow. It usually is designed in a manner that allows air to pass through the surface.
Hardware Cloth: Hardware cloth can act like a heavy-duty screen when installed in the right situations.
Pot Scrubbers: Got small gaps that need to be stuffed? There is no better option than pot scrubbers. That’s exactly what this material was designed for.