Cold Weather Curse: Georgia’s Winter Pest Habits
January 30, 2018
While some years come and pass as if nothing has changed, the start of this year was definitely new. Georgia’s typically mild winter became something of an anomaly at the start of the year, with plunging temperatures and icy conditions, this out-of-the-ordinary weather has had quite the effect on area pests. The consequences of a colder winter vary in regards to pest pressures: a blessing to some, and burden to others.
Year-Round Pest Pressures
In the South, pests are a threat all year long. Our humid subtropical climate is perfect for peaches and pests. While other areas of the country see specific seasons as more pest-ridden than others, Georgia typically deals with all the pests, all the time. In more northern areas of the country, the colder temperatures usually alleviate pest pressures, with pests either freezing to death or simply going dormant. Meanwhile, Georgia weather doesn’t normally get cold enough to elicit this type of response from pests.
But, this year started off differently: From the after effects of the Atlantic’s bomb cyclone to Winter Storm Inga, Georgia has already seen its fair share of cold weather, ultimately impacting pest activity. From dying off to forcing their way inside, one thing is certain: Pests tend to avoid colder weather.
If We Don’t Like It, Pests Hate It
Most of us live in Georgia for a reason: picturesque landscapes, proximity to the ocean, and warm weather. But those ideals also make for a happy bug’s life. When it does get cold, we’re able to layer clothing, drink hot beverages, and shiver to maintain body heat. Most pests can’t do this – although squirrels are known for making it through the winter by shivering until spring. And while we may not particularly enjoy the recent cold, pests can’t survive it.
This has already been seen as a benefit to our state’s agriculture – a vitally important industry that makes up about 12 percent of Georgian jobs. While the freeze has killed off some fields and crops, it has greatly helped those under siege by pests. Whiteflies, closely related to mealybugs, are white-colored, soft-bodied insects that feed on plants. They cause significant damage and fungal disease, and while they’re resistant to pesticides, the cold has been deadly. In this way, recent weather patterns have done a lot to help plagued fields.
All pests react in many different ways to the cold. Some, like the whiteflies, die off. Others hibernate, migrate, or overwinter in human structures. Here’s how Georgia pests do each:
- Hibernation can include freeze tolerance, where pests create an antifreeze-like compound to prevent ice crystals from forming on their bodies. It can also include freeze avoidance, which is just that: pests avoiding the freeze by burying themselves in soil or rotting trees.
- Migrating insects, like the monarch butterfly, have their internal compass direct them south to warmer climates. However, sudden weather changes – like our recent cold spell– is quite dangerous for migrating insects, as they must have time to take the south-bound trip.
- Overwintering pests utilize a form of migration to live through cold weather. But, instead of heading to a different region of the world, these pests migrate indoors. They rely on our indoor heating systems, and upon a sudden onset of cold weather, can cause problems to home and business owners.
Common Overwintering Pests in Georgia
If you thought you were going to get through another Georgian winter on minimal utility bills, this cold bout could have you questioning your resolve. But with cold weather, there’s more at stake than your energy costs. Freezing temperatures have forced pests inside our homes and businesses to survive; many of which cause extensive damage or health risks.
- Cockroaches: Cockroaches have a filthy reputation – and for good reason. They cause a number of illnesses, including Salmonellosis, Cholera, and Typhoid Fever. Cockroaches are versatile and adaptable, and as such, tolerate colder weather fairly well. Favoring warmth and food, however, they tend to find their way inside, coming up through sewage lines – as in the case of the American cockroach – or slipping in through open doors.
- Rodents: Rodents carry up to 26 diseases both directly and indirectly. And they’re one of the leading pests to enter structures when it’s cold outside. Rodents can get in easier than we’d like to think. Mice only need a hole the size of a dime, while small rats need one just the diameter of a quarter. Rodents also cause structural damage by chewing through wires, furniture, and insulation.
- Termites: If you have a termite problem, the cold weather may not do much to stop them. While it’s true that their activity slows down when the temperatures drop, termites continue to eat through wood to keep the colony afloat. And if you need repairs from termite damage, cold weather could delay your project.
Bracing for the Cold – and Pests
Despite the cold bout’s influence on pests, all is not lost. There are a number of things you can do to prevent pests in your home or business. Start by paying attention to the weather forecast: If a cold winter is predicted, make sure you’re on the lookout for pests. Sealing cracks and holes along your foundation, door jambs, or window sills doesn’t just help your home’s energy efficiency, but can keep pests from crawling inside. Further, setting preemptive traps and baits can help stop a pest problem before it starts, and alert you to the possibility of an entry point. For maximum protection against cold-weather pests, turn to pest control experts.
Count on the Professionals for Cold-Weather Pest Control
Staying warm and safe on the roads is enough to worry about when the weather gets cold. Let us at Allgood Pest Control lessen the burden of any additional pest pressures you may face. Whether you’d like to be proactive and safeguard your home against future pests, or are already seeing pests in your home or business, our expert technicians are ready to help. We’ll employ efficient and customized tactics to keep you, your family, or your customers safe from the dangers pests cause. Stay cozy and pest-free during the winter – contact us today at Allgood Pest Control to learn more about our pest services and customized plans.