Overwintering Pests

Overwintering pests are commonly found in Chicago because the area experiences a frigid winter. Before the cold temperatures arrive, these pests will find a way to sneak into your home. They’ll hide in your home until the warm temperatures return. Then, they’ll go back outside.

Which Overwintering Pests Can Be Found In Chicago?

Chicago residents may encounter a handful of overwintering pests, including ladybugs, boxelder bugs, and others.

Box Elder Bugs

Boxelder bugs will ruin your garden during summer. They can feed on the seeds of certain trees including boxelder trees. Before winter arrives, they’re going to find a way to enter your home. They’re only half an inch so they’ll enter through the smallest holes and gaps. They don’t damage property or make people sick. Don’t crush them or they’ll leave a stain on your sheets.

Lady Beetles

Asian Lady Beetles are overwintering pests that release a foul odor when they’re crushed. Some ladybugs can bite but they won’t cause too many problems since they’re not strong enough to break the skin.

Cluster Flies

Cluster flies are large flies that prefer staying outside. They spend most of their lives outside but they’re overwintering pests. Therefore, they’ll attempt to enter your home before the cold temperatures begin. They can also take shelter by hiding behind loose wood planks and tree back. As the name implies, they cluster together. When they decide to leave, you’re going to see a lot of flies in and around your home.

Leaf-Footed Pine Seed Bugs

Leaf-footed pine seed bugs are larger than other overwintering pests. Since they’re so large, their presence is going to frighten you. They’re roughly three-quarters of an inch and have a dull-brown tone. They stay outside and consume the seeds of pine cones during summer. Before it gets cold, they’ll sneak into your home. When your home is warmed by the sun or heating unit, many leaf-footed pine seed bugs will leave at once. They won’t hurt you but their size will scare you. Clean up their mess and you’ll be okay.

Stink Bugs

Stinks bugs are half an inch at the maximum. They have a back shaped like a shield and can slip through many small gaps. These pests are native to Asia but they’ve been in the United States since the mid-1990s. They stay outside and consume crops during the warm months. When they enter your home, they’re not going to reproduce inside. Brown marmorated stink bugs release a stinky odor when they’re crushed and stressed. Suffice to say, you’ll need to find out how to eliminate them without scaring them.

Use a vacuum to suck them up before disposing of them far away from your home.

Common Signs Of Overwintering Pests

When overwintering pests invade residences, they’re quickly going to find a place to hide. As a result, most people aren’t going to identify the problem until it is ready to end. Or, you might find a bug or two and think nothing else of it. When the home is warmed by the sun or HVAC unit, the pests will try to leave. They’ll go outside as quickly as possible. When this happens, you won’t be able to ignore the infestation any longer. Remember that these pests might get confused and fly deeper into the home. Either way, it is important to take steps to prevent a future overwintering problem when you find ladybugs, cluster flies, stink bugs, and other overwintering pests in your home.

Avoiding More Overwintering Pest Problems

It is important to do what you can to prevent overwintering pests from infesting your home in late fall. The best way to resolve the problem is by carefully sealing the exterior walls. When you do this, you’ll eliminate their entry points and make it harder for them to enter your home. You may not eliminate the risk completely but you will reduce it significantly. Use the advice below to keep overwintering pests out of your home.

Seal Small Gaps, Openings, & Entry Points

Carefully check your home’s exterior walls and eliminate all potential entry points. Make sure that all of them are blocked so you can prevent overwintering pests from sneaking inside. Plus, this will block other pests from entering too.

Signing Up For A Protective Barrier Treatment Service

Be sure to talk to your exterminator about protective exterior barrier treatments. These services are designed to keep overwintering pests away from your home. They’ll work exceptionally well and provide months of protection. Although you can use DIY methods, professional products are more reliable and they’ll last longer.

Places To Look For Gaps


First and foremost, check the bricks around your home. Gaps are often found near the top of the mortar used to glue the bricks together. There will be a small gap where the siding or molding reaches the brick. Unless you seal this gap, the bugs are going to climb into your attic and stay there throughout the cold winter months. Seal this gap as quickly as possible to keep pests out. For the best results, use a sealant.

Window Frames

When someone installs a window, they’ll need to seal all sides. Many professionals will seal the two sides and the tops. Doing so prevents water from seeping into the home. The bottom is often left ignored. It is important to understand that overwintering pests can slip through the bottom crack. Therefore, you should seal this gap using high-quality caulk. Doing so will keep insects, spiders, and other pests from entering the home.

Fascia & Clapboard

You’re going to find that the clapboard has an uneven surface. Unfortunately, this means it’ll create a gap for pests to enter. Seal the small gap around the fascia to ensure that these pests cannot sneak into your home. The best way to keep these pests is by using a foam insulating cord.

Attics & Soffit Vents

You’ll find vents around your attic and soffit. These gaps are vitally important but they could let pests enter your home. The vents should be covered by a durable screen. Furthermore, make sure that the screen is in flawless condition. It shouldn’t have any gaps or cracks.

Gaps Around Pipes & Cables

You’ll also find small openings around utility pipes, cables, and vents. These gaps might be small, but the bugs will still find a way to slip through them. Therefore, you’ll need to find a way to seal these gaps promptly. One of the best ways to do that is by using an old pot scrubber. These products can be shoved into small gaps. Once you’ve done that, overwintering pests won’t be able to sneak into your home. You can use a new scrubber but it’ll be harder to work with.

Even if you seal all of these gaps, there is a risk that overwintering pests are going to sneak into your home. When this happens, call our office and we’ll fix the problem.

Materials To Use To Seal Your Gaps

You’ll need to use an array of materials to ensure that overwintering pests cannot enter your home. Exclusion materials are designed to keep pests out. They’re regularly sold as pest-proofing materials. Although they can help prevent overwintering pests problems, they’ll block other pests too.

Caulk s Or Sealant

When you find a small gap around your home, you’ll need to seal it. Depending on what you’re dealing with, you may need to use caulk or sealant. Which material is best? Caulks work best for sealing surfaces that won’t move. For instance, it is great for sealing small gaps around bricks. If the material will expand or shrink due to temperature changes, seal the gap using a sealant.

Other Materials To Use When Sealing Your Home

You can use a handful of other materials to defend your home from overwintering pests.

  • Using foam insulation is a great way to seal long crevices. Spray foam helps but it is much harder to clean up. Therefore, it is best to stick with other foam insulation products.
  • Use an aluminum screen to stop pests from entering your home. The screen is inexpensive but it offers years of protection.
  • If you need a heavy-duty screen, it is wise to use hardware cloth.
  • Finally, you should use old pot scrubbers. They can fill small gaps exceptionally well.

When overwintering pests sneak into your home, call our office. We’re ready to begin helping you right away.

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Overwintering Pest (Cluster Flies)