Ever wonder why mosquitoes are always in as soon as school’s out for the summer? Or why you notice more spiders around pumpkin spice season every year?
Wherever you live, you may have come to expect certain pest problems like clockwork throughout the year. But while a Georgian may be tackling ticks in the summer, a Michigander may still be dealing with them well into the fall. Why is that?
As pests seek shelter and dependable food sources, their activity levels are tied to seasonal shifts. Here are a few of the things that affect their movement:
The life cycle of many insects follows a predictable annual pattern, and we’re unlikely to encounter them at all life stages. Crickets don’t emerge in summer because they want to crash your barbecue, but because that’s when they become active adults.
Insects are cold-blooded, which means that, rather than maintaining a constant body temperature like humans, they rely on their surroundings to warm them up. In the winter you’ll find them burrowed in the soil or under plant debris or (gasp!) hiding out in your centrally heated home, but once the mercury climbs above 50F or so in the spring, they’ll begin to emerge. In the fall, you may notice an increase in pests inside your home, as critters like boxelder bugs, cockroaches, and spiders seek a warm, cozy spot to ride out the winter months.
If you live in a more moderate climate that never dips below freezing, you may find ticks to be a year-round nuisance. On the other hand, if it gets unseasonably hot where you live, this may reduce the egg-laying time for pests like mosquitoes, thus reducing their numbers.
Ever notice mosquitoes buzzing around more than usual after heavy rains? Too much moisture may cause an infestation by creating breeding grounds for certain pests. On the contrary, spring rains also tend to drive ants away from their nesting sites and in search of higher ground.
The lack (or abundance) of food can drive pest populations down or up. An early spring, for instance, may lead to the early arrival of pests by kickstarting the growth of the plants they like to munch on. Similarly, a cold snap can kill off spring vegetation and set back pest populations. In the summer, many pests take advantage of longer daylight hours to feed.
Now that you understand the seasonal behavior of pests, let’s add another element to the equation: your location! Weather patterns are different from state to state, so the pests that some people encounter in the spring may be quite different from what others experience.
But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with our regional, seasonal pest maps. Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting bugs under control:
As part of our commitment to growing better, we’re excited to help you take control of pests around your home without harming pollinators and other critical members of our ecosystem. Let’s get started!
Cold Weather Impact on Insect Pests. University of Illinois Extension.
Management of Pest Insects In and Around the Home. UGA Extension.