8 pests homeowners might see inside this winter in Canada

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Published November 27, 2023 at 1:12 pm

8 pests canada
Boxelder bugs are one of the top pests expected this winter. (Photo: Kelisi)

Getting cozy and warm in the winter isn’t just for people, bugs and animals also look for a comfortable place to hunker down during the coldest part of the year.

This week, people in Ontario will see colder temperatures and some will even get their first big blast of snow.

As the weather gets colder, many pests come inside, according to pest control company, Orkin Canada. Orkin releases the annual “rattiest” city stats.

Based on seasonal data, Orkin Canada is now sharing its predictions for the most common pests Canadians can expect to see in winter 2023/24.

Here is the list from Orkin:

Earwigs

These small bugs with scary-looking  forceps, may stick around as they look to escape the cold by hitchhiking indoors, often when people bring in outdoor furniture for the season.

These bugs get their name from the myth that they can crawl into your ear while you are sleeping. They are not aggressive but can deliver a minor pinch and emit an unpleasant, yellow-brown liquid if they feel threatened.

earwig pests canada

The milder 2022 winter conditions allowed large populations of earwigs to survive, which combined with a hotter 2023 summer has led to a population explosion in 2023, according to Orkin.

Orkin suggests sealing cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation, replacing old door and window screens, and removing decaying vegetation around your property.

Rodents

Like many pests, the warmer winter of 2022 allowed rodent populations to grow without being naturally controlled by cold weather.

Also, as more people returned to pre-pandemic dining patterns, there has been more food waste for rats and mice around restaurants, leading to the potential growth of robust populations.

Rodents are a health risk due to food contamination and they can carry the deadly Hantavirus.

Orkin suggests making sure homes are clean, remove accessible food sources, securely cover trash cans and trim back vegetation to minimize hiding spots.

Boxelder bugs

These are overwintering insects that may wake up on sunny winter days to invade your property in horrifyingly large numbers. These bugs look a bit like a beetle with a black and red body and six legs. They smell if you crush them.

People should control infestations on trees before the start of their migration season (fall) and this will eliminate a population influx into structures, Orkin suggests.

Stink bugs

Stink bugs are small but reproduce at a rapid rate over the summer and look to overwinter indoors. These pests can also release a noxious odour when threatened or crushed.

They pose a significant threat to the agriculture industry as they feed on crops causing discolouration and distortion.

Be sure to seal cracks in your home and trim vegetation to help prevent these bugs from getting inside.

Cluster flies

The milder winter of 2022 coupled with a return of pre-pandemic levels of commercial waste have created ideal conditions for cluster flies to feed on decomposing organic materials and other plants.

People may see them in their homes as the colder conditions forecasted for the winter of 2023 push these pests indoors.

While they are not dangerous, the excrement left behind can leave stains on curtains and walls.

If cluster flies are inside, homeowners can use a shop vac to vacuum them up or use an insect light trap to catch the flies as they emerge from a dormant-like state in attics.

Cockroaches

While these pests usually thrive outside in wooded and grassy areas, extreme cold or flooding may send cockroaches fleeing indoors to escape the harsh winter weather. And like other pests, the colder winters control cockroach populations naturally.

Consuming food contaminated by cockroaches can lead to food poisoning and their droppings can exacerbate health issues, especially for individuals with asthma.

To prevent cockroaches, clean and vacuum regularly, store food in tightly sealed containers, make sure cupboards remain dry, and reduce/eliminate clutter around your home.

cockroach canada pests

(Photo: H. Zell)

European firebugs

The European firebug is native to Europe, but since 2017 these pests began expanding across the country. As a result of a milder winter in 2022, there has been a larger population that grew in the summer of 2023.

Because these pests overwinter in warm spots, they are most likely to infest structures in larger numbers, creating the possibility of increased sightings.

They aren’t dangerous but “their tendency to gather in mass can be a nuisance and create anxiety for some,” according to Orkin.

firebugs pests canada

European firebugs have grown in population in Canada. (Photo: Michel Langeveld)

Wildlife

Finally, raccoons, squirrels and skunks are out in higher numbers. Like other pests, they have benefited from a milder winter last year. With the onset of winter, these pests will be actively seeking warm shelter to escape the cold and intensively foraging for food, Orkin notes.

Some ways to prevent wildlife from entering your home include sealing any potential entry points and openings, and securing gaps beneath decks and porches.

For more information and tips, see the Orkin website post.

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