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Are Insects Hibernating Inside Your Home?

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What do Asian lady beetles, boxelder bugs, and attic flies have in common? The answer is, they can all overwinter in your home to escape the cold. And with our springtime warm up, I’ve been receiving calls about homes swarming with bugs. If that’s your case as well, you may be seeing signs of them trying to make their way back outside.

The good news about these overwintering pest is they don’t breed inside and don’t cause damage. The down side is they make a nuisance of themselves as they crawl around windows and doors looking for that exit. And if you’re a little squeamish about bugs in the first place, that’s the last thing you want to see.

In doing a little research, I found that it's common for several species of our insects to go through a process called diapause, which is a type of hibernation, through the winter months. The three insects I mentioned above are probably the most common ones I see enter our homes for the hibernation phase. Like you, I’ve seen what looks like an invasion of lady beetles on warm sunny days on our southern exposure windows. They will crawl around for a while until the temperatures plummet again and then either go back into hiding or die because they have expended too much energy.

The orange and black marked boxelder bug is also pretty common. Because they are a little larger, they often get stuck outside just under siding and other cracks and crevices in our homes exterior. But give them a big enough opening and they will certainly end up inside too.

Attic flies are actually a generic name given to a number of different flies that make their way inside in the fall. A common livestock fly called face flies are probably the biggest culprit. If there are cracks in screens or vents heading in the attic, they will make their way inside. And just like the others, on warm sunny days, flies start buzzing around windows thinking it’s time to get back outside and begin their life cycle all over again.

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Jessica Barnett
Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent