Winter Pests: Dealing With Common Pests in Winter

Brown rat

As winter approaches, it’s not time to get lax on your pest control. Winter pests invade your home looking for warmth, shelter, and sources of food they can no longer acquire outside. You can prepare yourself by better understand which winter pests are most common, how to check for them, and the best method for removing them. Keep reading for your complete guide on handling winter pests.

House Mice & Norway Rats

House mice are the most common pest in the United States. Chances are, if you don’t have mice, someone on your street might.

Mice infestations typically occur in homes from the winter months of October to February as these little creatures look for warm shelter and food.

Approximately 21 million households in America experience a mice infestation in winter. All of this applies to rats as well, specifically Norway Rats, which are common throughout the United States.

Rats and mice are small and can fit into tiny openings around your home. Once they gain access, they can shelter in secluded areas such as basements, attics, and piles of debris. As a result, they can be difficult to notice in your home.

One of the signs of a rat infestation is grease marks on your wall that have rubbed off of the rat’s greasy fur. Additionally, look for small droppings, gnawed furniture or plastic, and scampering noises.

German Cockroaches

The German cockroach is found throughout the world. These cockroaches are small, cannot fly, but can lay up to 30-40 eggs in a single egg case. The breeding months for cockroaches fall in the winter months, so a cockroach infestation during this time can magnify quickly.

Cockroaches prefer areas that are close to food and high in moisture, making homes the perfect target. Most people will find cockroaches in their kitchens or bathrooms, as these are the rooms in a home that have excess moisture.

Cockroaches can sneak into homes in grocery bags and boxes. And, they can live on unique food supplies such as glue and paper, allowing them to live even if they don’t have access to typical food.

Some common signs of a German cockroach infestation are small dark droppings that resemble pepper or coffee, grounds, skin shedding, and dead roaches.

Firewood Pests

During the winter months, many people love to light a fire in the home. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of winter pests entering your home.

Firstly, firewood is typically stored outside, and bugs will attach themselves to the wood. Essentially, homeowners are carrying bugs directly into their home! Additionally, the warm fireplace creates a soothing glow that attracts insects and pests.

Avoid firewood pests, such as carpenter ants, by always shaking your wood off before bringing it into your home. And, inspect the wood for exit holes created by insects before bringing it into the house.


One in five Americans either have had a bed bug problem or know someone who has. Bed bugs often enter the home through luggage, clothing, and boxes.

Bed bugs are a problem for homeowners all year long. However, they tend to thrive indoors and can survive for months without a blood meal. Bed bugs can hibernate for several months when they’re cold. So, an outbreak can occur in the winter, and you may not be aware of it until the spring months!

Some common signs of bed bugs are bloodstains on the pillowcases and bed sheets, dark or rusty spots on the bedding that looks like coffee grounds, and pearl white eggshells around your mattress or headboard.

Preventing Infestations

The National Pest Management Association named the top 10 cities in the United States susceptible to winter pests:

  1. New Orleans, LA
  2. Washington, DC
  3. New York City, NY
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Phoenix, AZ
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Tampa, FL
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. Houston, TX

Regardless if you live in one of these cities or not, you should take as many preventative measures as you can to protect your home. Once pests make their way indoors, it can be particularly challenging to get rid of them.

Prevent infestations by reducing open water and food sources, closing off all entry points to your home, and keeping a tidy home without clutter.

If you suspect your home has been exposed to winter pests, it’s typically best to call a pest control professional. A professional can determine the entry points, remove all infestations, and provide tips on how to prevent future infestations.

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