When it gets cold outside, it sure is nice to cuddle up to bae at a fireplace, drink some spiked cider, watch some Netflix, maybe chill.
But it also means there's a greater chance that a big hairy rat is inching up behind you, just staring, waiting for you to drop some popcorn.
Rats are "overwintering pests," according to Andy Linares, president of Bug Off Pest Control in New York City. He defined these as insects and rodents that usually stay outdoors, "but are looking for refuge and harborage in warmer areas while they wait for the weather the change." Think ladybugs, stinkbugs, cluster flies, rats and mice.
Fortunately, colder temps don't necessarily lead to an all-out critter attack on your home. "When the weather gets cold, there's less pest activity because pests such as ants, wasps, hornets and bees tend to become dormant," Linares said. Instead, "we see more activity in the warmer months when breeding kicks up."
Same goes for cockroaches and bedbugs.
We were curious as to which home pest infestations you're concerned about most, so we asked Google. They tallied up search queries from January 1 through November 17 and, understandably, spiders are the most searched, followed by mosquitoes and cockroaches.
No matter which are your uninvited guests, you can keep them at bay by containing your trash in tightly covered trashcans that you empty regularly, caulking and filling in holes and cracks where pests can enter your home, and spending an afternoon decluttering. "Clutter provides places for pests to breed and hide and makes it hard to get rid of them," the Environmental Protection Agency advises.
Check out the full list of critters that most annoy residents in your state, according to Google searches:
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