Generally, most insects and other pests such as mice cannot survive extreme cold weather conditions, though some species will burrow into the ground and go dormant until the conditions are more favourable to their survival. Many pests which will start to sneak in homes for shelter and protection against the harsh cold of the outside - opting for the warmth of closed areas in homes. This warmth is vital for their survival so Autumn and Winter can actually pose a more significant pest management issue to humans.
The aftermath of storms can also lead to dramatic rises in insect numbers with increased water supply and decaying plant material to feed on.
Cold weather does bring with it some pest issues that pose significant health and economic issues, rodents and termites… Following is some information about these pests and signs to look for.
Rats & House Mice
Being warm-blooded animals, rodents won’t survive the cold weather outside. These pests will enter homes seeking the shelter, food, and warmth available inside. Rodents tend to build nests in wall voids, sheds, ceiling cavities and even storage boxes. These pests regularly cause damage to electrical wirings, plasterboard and storage containers, they contaminate household food in their search for sustenance and pose infection risks due to bites and scratches.
As temperatures drop during winter, rodent attacks are more common and unfortunately also more hostile. In cold weather, warm houses are irresistible to rodents and are easily accessible to them via gaps in flooring and roofing, unsealed cracks, windows and damaged flyscreens. Storage containers and sheds are ideal for them as they tend to hide in clutter and in places with less human traffic. Rodents are known to carry diseases such as Hantavirus and Salmonella so management of these pests should be a main priority for households.
Termites are an insect that is active all year round. Although they are predominantly active through Summer and warm months, during the cooler months, they are drawn to the heat generated by household heating and as such, can become an even more significant issue in cooler months.
Termites pose a significant risk to buildings affected by wet season rains and storms as they need to live in a moist environment. Sustained periods of rain can provide enough dampness for them to migrate into new areas. Buildings tend to come under attack by termites that are exploiting the weak spots, damp spots and damaged areas that excessive wet weather causes. Combined with their attraction to the warmth of the heated building, termites can become a significant issue during cool weather.
Find out more about some of Queensland’s most common pests here: