Q: Does your business slowdown in the winter?
A: The pest control business is a year round business in New York State. It can be slower in the winter, but not as a rule. Mice, rats, squirrels, cockroaches, and even carpenter ants (among other pests), can and will still be active in the winter. In New York State, cold temperatures can even increase pest activity indoors, as pests seek out warm places to survive and thrive.

Q: What do I hear scratching around in my walls or over my head?
A: 9 times out of 10 in the winter you are hearing mice in your walls and ceilings. It can be squirrels, chipmunks, bats, or even raccoons, but more often than not it’s mice. One telling factor is what time you are hearing the noise. Mice are nocturnal, which helps keep them safe from predators. So if you are hearing scratching at night, it’s probably mice. Squirrels, the 2nd most common pest heard in walls during the winter, are usually sleeping and inactive at night, and coming and going throughout the day. Morning, afternoon, or early evening activity heard is most likely squirrels.

Q: Do you ever have any insect calls in the winter?
A: Yes! Cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, various types of moths, and many other insects are still active in the winter. They can survive inside warm structures.

Q: Do carpenter ants survive the winter?
A: Carpenter ants can survive the winter outside by hibernating. But carpenter ants can also survive inside during the winter and never go inactive. If it’s warm enough inside, carpenter ants will continue to destroy the structure of your home. If you see a carpenter ant inside your home during the winter months, call Sheridan Pest Control for help. Because this means you have an established, interior nest somewhere in the walls of your home.

Q: Where do the chipmunks go in the winter?
A: Chipmunks do not hibernate, but close… they sleep for much of the winter only waking up every few days to eat, and go to the bathroom. Their burrows are usually 30 feet deep, and full of food. Chipmunks also store food in their cheek pouches while they sleep (for a quick snack!). And in case their burrows get raided by another pest, chipmunks also strategically keep food hidden all around their territory for survival. Chipmunks are smart!

Q: Are there any tick concerns during the winter in New York?
A: Yes. Although there are many conflicting reports related to tick activity in the winter in New York, just assume they are active. They can find warm places to survive and they can survive when attached to a host. The tick threat is much lower if the temps are consistently below 32 degrees, but the New York weather is very inconsistent. Always be on alert related to ticks. Never drop your guard. And remember – if pests are running through your yard or flying over your yard at any point, assume they are dropping ticks on your property.

Q: Should I be concerned if I see a skunk in the winter?
A: No. Skunks do not hibernate. So even though they do become less active in the winter months, you could still see one active, especially a male skunk. Mating season is February, and March, so this is a very common time to see one out and about looking for its mate. If you do see a skunk in the winter during non-mating season, it is probably looking for food. Messing with a skunk is never a good idea, but rabies is also a concern, so be careful. In fact, be careful with all rodents, mammals, and pests in general. Always err on the side of caution. And call us, Sheridan Pest Control, for help!

Q: If we identify the exterior entry point for pests (mice, squirrels, etc.), can’t we just seal it up to solve our pest/attic issue?
A: No! All rodents must be removed and declared inactive first! Why? Because sealing up the entry-point may lock the rodent in question inside the walls of your home. This could lead to the rodent in question dying, and smelling terribly, or it could cause the rodent to damage a different area of your home to regain entry. The rodent may even eat their way to the inside of your house. I promise you, you don’t want that. Sealing the entry-point should only be done after the rodent is declared inactive, and no longer an issue.

Mike Sheridan