Real pests of New England: What you need to know this winter

By Ryan Welton - Eliminate’Em Pest Control Services
Connecticut - posted Mon., Nov. 18, 2013

New England is renowned nationally for its fall foliage this time of year, and Connecticut has several wonderful venues for viewing the state’s beautiful, brilliant colors. However, the beauty of autumn is merely a precursor to often-harsh winters and the rodents and pests that thrive in them.

This is true not just for Connecticut but also for its neighbor to the west, New York, and north, Massachusetts – and a little bit of knowledge this fall can go a long, long way this winter.

Perhaps the first thing you’ll want to know is that long-range forecasters believe Connecticut is in store for a colder-than-usual winter with normal or below normal precipitation. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the region will see its coldest air in early and mid-December and in early to mid-February.

And that means it’s time for residents in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York to be aware of the wide variety of creepy-crawlies and rodents that use winter’s cold temperatures as a reason to find a way into homes across the tri-state area.


Carpenter Ants

“Our winter was so snowy and cold here in Connecticut last season that carpenter ants sought shelter in warm homes,” said Kenny Vayda, President/CEO of Eliminate’Em Pest Control Services.

Carpenter ants thrive in warm, moist conditions, but they enter a state of slowed metabolism called diapause in winter and look for warmer, hollowed out wood in which to live.

Where might they find such a spot?

Why, of course, they would find such a spot in your house.

“Don’t be caught off guard,” Vayda said.


Mice, Rats

As a general rule, when it gets really cold outside, most all creatures will seek warmer space, and that includes mice and rats. You’d be amazed how small a crevice is required for a mouse to get through, and you’d be horrified at the destruction mice and rats can cause to items such as food and wiring.

How might you know whether mice or rats have infested your home? Look for dark droppings. Look for gnawed-away wood. It might be that you’ll see the rodents themselves.


Bed bugs

The expression, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” is more than an end-of-evening afterthought here in Connecticut. The pests have become quite prevalent in the area over the past few years.

According to the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, there are two species of bed bug: The common bed bug and the tropical bed bug. Bed bugs are human parasites though they are not necessarily known to spread disease. In some people, a bed bug bite can cause severe allergic reactions.

Where do they live? They live near sleeping areas, hiding during the day and then coming out at night.


Stink bugs

Native to eastern Asia, the Marmorated stink bug is relatively new to the United States, having been first discovered in America in Allentown, Pa., in the mid-1990s. It’s known as a stink bug because, as you might have guessed, it gives off an odor.

And in Connecticut, winter’s cold drives these crop pests from the crisp conditions outdoors to the warm refuge inside our homes and buildings, where they go into hibernation for the season.


Boxelder bugs

The Boisea trivittata or boxelder bug is primarily found on trees and is considered a nuisance pest. Like other bugs, they venture indoors when the temperatures get cold and feed off plants.

If you decide to handle these critters yourself, be sure to pick them up with a tissue as opposed to smashing them because they secrete a stain.



These masked rodents feast on virtually anything, and while they are not generally active during the winter time, they will venture out on warmer days later in the season to mate.

Raccoons will eat just about anything including nuts, fruit, eggs, mice and garbage. One of the easiest ways to detect a raccoon problem is to discover a wrecked garbage can in your neighborhood.

That’s not all, either.

“While on the subject of cold weather pests: Squirrels, skunk moles and even bats find their way into your home to make a mess, cause physical harm and damage – many, many issues that go far beyond nuisance,” Vayda said.

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