Those living in the northeast are surely familiar with at least one of the several insect pest species that invade homes every fall in order to secure warm shelter during the winter season. These pests invade homes in swarms, and once inside, they tend to congregate in areas where they are unlikely to be noticed by a home occupant’s. The most common indoor insect pest hideaways include wall voids, behind baseboards, attic spaces, basements, cellars, crawl spaces, cracks in walls, attached garages, behind furniture, and storage closets. Most seasonal home invaders are merely nuisance pests that are attempting to live out the winter season indoors before returning outdoors come spring. Unsurprisingly, most of these invaders die before the arrival of spring, due to dry indoor conditions where food sources are difficult to come by. However, in rare circumstances, fall invaders can survive an entire winter indoors provided that food sources are plentiful and conditions are sufficiently moist.

Most insect pests that attempt to overwinter in homes are plant-eating insects that will not find a food source once indoors. These insect pests include brown marmorated stink bugs, boxelder bugs, western conifer seed bugs, and elm leaf beetles. Overwintering insect pests that are not plant eaters include cluster flies, Asian lady beetles and paper wasp queens. Insect pests like pillbugs, sowbugs, earwigs, millipedes, springtails, crickets and wood cockroaches will invade homes at any time of year when outdoor conditions become unfavorable, especially during the fall when temperatures begin to drop. However, these insect pests can only survive in moist conditions, and they rarely succeed in finding properly moist conditions once indoors. Fall invaders that are omnivores can usually survive long periods indoors, as these insect pests can find a variety of food sources in homes. The most problematic household pests are “peridomestic” insect pests, which are insects that can reproduce both indoors and outdoors during anytime of year. Peridomestic insect pests include American cockroaches, oriental cockroaches, house crickets, house centipedes, numerous ant species and carpet beetles. Keeping homes free of food scraps and repairing pipe leaks that can cause moisture retention will make indoor environments less hospitable to home-invading insect pests.

Have you ever discovered cockroaches in your home during the winter season?