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How do Pests Live Through Winter in New York?

If you live in Westchester or Rockland County, you might have wondered how the mosquitoes keep coming back every summer.

Maybe you're dealing with mice, rats, or other rodents in your home in Sloatsburg or Stony Point. Maybe you've walked around Rockland Lake State Park, or maybe you own some property in Nanuet, Spring Valley, or New City, or maybe you've hiked around the Hook Mountain State Park.

Wherever you go, the pests never stop coming. And if you've ever looked out the window or across the Hudson River in January or February, you just might wonder how the pests keep coming back.

Cold Doesn't Kill the Pests

So, if the cold doesn't wipe them all out, then what happens to them?

They don't migrate; otherwise, we'd see massive swarms of bugs head to Florida or Cuba for the winter. Some insects, like monarch butterflies, actually do migrate, but not all of them do.

How do they come back every year?

All pests have found some of their own ways to deal with the winter, and there are almost as many overwintering strategies as there are pests.

Here are a few of the most common overwintering strategies.

How Pests Overwinter

Insect Diapause

One way insects keep themselves alive through the winter is actually a kind of hibernation called diapause.

During the spring, the bugs mate. After the eggs hatch, the new insect eats and grows as quickly as it can. Some pests grow quickly enough that they've already reached the adult stage of life by the first snowfall of the year.

As the fall gets colder and transitions into winter, the insects look for as many hidey-holes as they can find and set up shop for the winter.

Then the cool part begins.

The insect slows down all it's body processes, moves very slowly, and goes into a kind of trance. The insect won't activate from this state until the right conditions change its biology and force it to forage for food. The right conditions are different for every type of insect and include changes in temperature, barometric pressure, humidity levels, and other weather-related variables.

A few of the insects that undergo diapause include wasp and hornet queens, some kinds of beetles, mantids, stink bugs, box elder bugs, and many others. Some pests undergo diapause as adults and others undergo diapause as larvae.

Other Overwintering Strategies

As mentioned, some pests can migrate to avoid the winter, like monarch butterflies.

Some, like mosquitoes, die as adults in the late summer or fall and only survive into the following year because the eggs they lay during the season eventually hatch when the right conditions return to the area.

Changing body chemistry

Some insects replace the water in their bodies with a chemical called glycerol, which doesn't freeze at the same temperature as water.

Many overwintering pests in diapause do this, and others remain active and only move more slowly and continue to forage, most notably ants.

Why Get Pest Control Treatments During the Winter?

We asked one of our Fox Pest Pros who has been in the industry a long time to understand better why pest control treatments are necessary during the winter.

Ronnie Wright has been in the industry for 25 years, including an 8-year period of employment with a worldwide company.

"Pests come in all seasons," he says. "Just because it's wintertime and there's snow on the ground doesn't mean that it's going to be thirty degrees next week. It could be sixty degrees next week. That's going to [affect] the biology of the insect … and you could have an issue …"

Even if you live in Rockland County, you could have active pests in the middle of January if the weather warms enough. And there's no way to anticipate when that happens, or for which pest.

Ronnie continues: "So any time you have a pest control contract with a company, you need to take full advantage of it and get the services done on a regular basis. If a reservice is needed, go ahead and get the reservice done."

When services are performed during the winter, it catches these pests when they come out of diapause and start to move around and forage for food.

Professional treatments during the winter will seriously reduce the number of breeding insects during the spring. Winter treatments are strong and hardy enough to withstand the winter and still be active and ready for the pests, no matter when they become active.

Trust the Professionals

With Fox Pest Control, it doesn't matter what time of year the pests come, we're ready to get rid of them.

Whether you have bed bugs, roaches, ants, termites, or any other kind of bug, Fox Pest Control has your back.

No Bugs is Simply Better, so next time you think pest control, think Fox Pest Control.

Posted on February 12, 2020.

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At Fox Pest Control our guarantee to you is 100% satisfaction. That's why we created our robust home protection plan. The barriers that we put into place to protect your home or business against pests naturally break down over time. Over the course of the year, we reapply treatments to maintain those barriers. If for whatever reason any new pest problems do arise, call us and we will take care of the problem immediately and at no additional charge. Immediately means just that, immediately – not when it’s convenient for us.

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Rockland County Pest Control & ExterminatorsFox Pest Control proudly provides expert pest control and bed bug control in Rockland County. We have helped over 20,000 homeowners manage and exterminate their pest problems and look forward to putting over 8 years of experience to work for you.

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