Come spring, pests may emerge

Even with record-setting winter temperatures, experts say household pests will return.

Vanessa Nyarko

As this season’s record cold breaks, Minnesotans can expect the return of some familiar foes.

Most household pests are able to weather — even thrive — in the toughest of winters.

Insects like boxelder bugs and Asian lady beetles typically enter homes in late fall to escape the oncoming cold, said Jeffrey Hahn, a University of Minnesota Extension entomology professor.

Once inside homes and apartments, several types of pests lay eggs that can withstand below-freezing temperatures, said Glenn Buggs, owner of Buggs Pest Control.

“Once they’re in the house, that’s where they want to be,” he said.

Kinesiology sophomore Alec Fricke said he and his roommates had a mouse in their home around Thanksgiving break. Despite calling their landlord to ask for an exterminator, Fricke said no action was taken, and they believe the pest is still in the house.

Buggs said exterminators get fewer calls during the winter because most pests stay dormant and out of sight, hiding in places like buildings’ insulation or
foundations.

But as the sun comes out and temperatures rise in late winter and spring, eggs hatch and people take notice.

There are some things that homeowners can do to prevent bugs or mice from entering in the first place, Buggs said, including making sure any cracks in building foundations are sealed off.

For the pests that do get in, most people call an exterminator to get them out even if they don’t pose risks to property or health, Hahn said.

“People have a strong sense of not having any kind of insects in their homes,” he said.

As pests return from their winter slumber, Hahn said, it’s important for residents to identify whether the pest poses an actual risk to health or property damage, or if it’s just a nuisance, before calling an exterminator.