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Are bugs invading your home? Turns out they might've been there for awhile

We don't see many bugs outside in the winter months here in Ohio, but we can sometimes see them more often inside our homes.

During the winter months in Ohio, bugs often seek refuge inside warmer climates such as rotting tree bark, caves, buildings and unfortunately, our homes.

Professor Emeritus of Entomology at Ohio State University, David Shetlar, Ph. D., said insects do this in order to protect themselves from the arrival of colder temperatures.

"The reality is that everyone who has a home, or a building probably has at least 3 different kinds of insects in their attic," said Shetlar.

The most common insects are lady bugs, stink bugs and wasps. 

These bugs gain access into buildings often by small cracks or holes in air vents leading to the attic from where they can gain access into other aspects of the home. 

"The bugs can never seem to find the way they came into your attic, so they come into your living space."

During the cold winter months when temperatures warm up a little and the sun is shining, bugs can awake from their slumber and think that it's spring time from the warmer conditions. 

This is likely why you might be noticing a more bug activity in your home the day after a warm and sunny day. It's not because bugs from outside are coming in, but rather the bugs waking up from within your house. 

These bugs may appear to be a little "confused" or disoriented, but it's not from a lack of sleep.  Before going into a state of rest or hibernation, Dr. Shetlar said these insects go through a process of insuring their durability for the colder weather.

"They take their sugar and convert it to glycogen, which is basically antifreeze for their blood."

Once they awaken, they then convert that glycogen or antifreeze back to sugar.

"They probably haven’t converted all of that glycogen back to the sugar that would allow them to be more active."

And if you're wondering if the upcoming cold weather will be able to kill of any bugs, think again. Dr. Shetlar also said that these bugs have experienced the last Ice Age and are durable enough to survive in the wild weather here in Ohio.

"They’re fully prepared to be able to either find habitat or develop their physiological system to not allow their tissues to freeze when until temperatures get to zero or slightly below zero."

So if you're thinking, I can't depend on Mother Nature to get rid of these bugs, so how do I keep them out of my house? 

Dr. Shetlar recommends to first go up into your attic with a flashlight and survey the space. If you can locate any bugs, chances are they came through the attic through the soffit air vents that lead outside. 

When those soffit air vents are installed, Dr. Shetlar said that they are often installed with nylon screening, which is plastic. After cycles of freezing and warming over the years, that can cause problems with the screening.

"It gets brittle and it breaks apart.  Now the insects have an easy way to get through those little grills and get up into your attic for the wintertime."

He recommends replacing the nylon screening with aluminum, which is very durable and will likely stop the bugs from getting into your home from those access points. 

He also said that if you don't want to do it yourself, please contact your local pest control. 

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