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Pests That Overwinter

 In Blog-posts, Carpenter Ants, Rodents, Spiders

Antworks talks about pests that overwinter in the Portland OR and Vancouver WA areas.

Overwinter is a term used to describe how a mammal, bird, or insect acts to survive the winter cold. Mammals may decide to hibernate or move to another location to protect themselves from the cold. Birds often fly to Southern areas to be in warmer weather. Many insects and pests seek out the closest structures and try to find their way inside.

Which Insects and Pests Overwinter in the Northwest?

The most common pests that will try to seek shelter in your home during the cold months include:

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are an aggressive overwintering insect that will seek out warmth to survive the winter. Your home offers them protection from the cold as well as food, water, and access to materials to build their nests. Carpenter ants come in red, brown, and black in the Northwest, and each type is equally destructive.

Carpenter ants generally go dormant in the winter unless they find a secure place to live. If they are protected from the cold, they will continue their destructive lifestyle throughout the cold months. If you see carpenter ants in your home, you will need to call pest control immediately.

Boxelder Bugs or Stink Bugs

Boxelder bugs and stink bugs are not as much of a nuisance as carpenter ants, but they will seek out warm places in your home to survive the winter. The most common areas that you will find these bugs are in cracks or crevices in your house siding, near the roof, and in the foundation.


Rodents are a huge problem in the winter. These destructive creatures can enter your home through a space as small as a dime for mice and as small as a quarter for rats. They are harmful and will chew through drywall, wood, wiring, and some pipes to gain access to warmth and food.

Rodents present a danger to humans because they carry many diseases that can be transmitted through their touch, saliva, excrement, or fleas that may be on their bodies. These vermin can contaminate food and water. If you believe that rodents have entered your home, you will need to call pest control.


It is an urban legend that spiders head indoors during the winter to keep warm. Spiders do not have blood, but rather a fluid that can take on anti-freeze properties in the cold months. Although they become more dormant during the cold, spiders generally do not seek indoor shelter during the winter months.

If you are seeing spiders in your home during the winter, it is just because you are spending more time indoors. The spiders have been there all along. Spiders do breed when left alone, so if you see one or two spiders in your home, there is a good chance there is a lot more. Pest control services can help with this problem.


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