Like all living things, insects are constantly searching for food, water and shelter, so it’s likely many of them will try to come indoors during the winter months, said Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist.
“During extreme temperatures, insects try to find a more comfortable environment, preferably one where they can also locate food and water,” Brown said.
Brown said two of the most unwanted insect pests — scorpions and cockroaches — are among those insects likely to try and enter the home during cold weather.
“While Texas has 18 scorpion species, the striped bark scorpion, which is yellowish-tan with two dark stripes running parallel along its back, is the most common in South Central Texas,” she said.
Brown said the two outdoor species of cockroach “most likely to make people panic” should they get inside the house are the smoky brown and American cockroach.
“These are two of the larger outdoor cockroach species found in this area of Texas,” she said. “And the American cockroach can be particularly disturbing as it has been known to fly directly at people.”
“Black crazy ants are mainly a nuisance as they can get indoors and travel along thresholds in strange and peculiar patterns,” she said. “They are most likely to get in by way of potted plants being brought indoors or by hitching a ride on a cardboard box. Of course, they will also look for any external opening that will allow them to get inside.”
The entomologists also provided the following tips to help exclude these and other pests from the home:
— Keep debris and firewood away from the house.
— Prune any trees or shrubs touching or hanging over the house.
— Keep grass near or touching the house closely mowed.
— Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows as necessary.
— Fill weep holes in stone, brick or stucco homes with steel wool, copper mesh or screen wire.
— Seal cracks, crevices and areas of pipe penetration in exterior walls with sealant.
— Keep window screens in good repair and make sure they fit tightly into the window frame.
— Treat the foundation of the home with a pesticide with ingredients such as permethrin, cypermethrin or deltamethrin.
— Apply pesticides around doors, windows, eaves and other potential points of entry. Indoor treatments should be directed at potential points of entry as well as corners, cracks and crevices. Follow label directions for dosage, mixing and application methods.
Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent.