Cold Weather Pests in Northern California

During the cooler months of the year, many animals retreat to warmer places. Birds migrate. Bears hibernate. Others, such as raccoons and opossums, hang around but stick close to home when the temperatures drop below freezing. Unfortunately, that’s not the only way that some pests deal with winter, even in northern California.

Instead, they look for comfortable places to find food, water, and shelter—like your home.

Three of the most common pests you may encounter are stink bugs, cockroaches, or rodents. Each of them poses unique challenges. The first is merely a nuisance. However, they are appropriately named and will make your home unpleasant-smelling. The second also carries that same risk. It’s also an asthma trigger for some individuals.

Rodents are the worst of the lot. They can cause significant damage to your home. They are also can transmit diseases directly to humans, including:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Plague
  • Hantavirus
  • Rat-bite fever

Rodents can also harm you and your dog by infecting your pup with leptospirosis. They may also expose you, your family, and your pet to Lyme disease.


Common Cold Weather Pests

All these pests are elusive. That’s one reason why it’s so hard to get rid of them. You’re more likely to notice the signs that they’re in your home before you see one. If you do spot one, you have an infestation on your hands, especially if it happens during the day. Most pests try to avoid humans and predators and limit their activity during the day.

Stink Bugs

The brown marmorated stink bug isn’t native to the United States. Instead, it lives in Asia in Korea, Japan, and China. It accidentally made its way here in the mid-1990s. Since then, this pest has spread to 38 states, including northern California. They are small oval insects about the size of a dime. Like most species, they can fly. The good news is that they can’t sting or bite you.

Signs of an infestation include damage to gardens and crops, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region. You may see them congregating on the side of your house during late summer and early fall. The telltale red flag is finding dead ones in your house or seeing any inside during the day. While they won’t cause any damage to your home, they emit a foul odor when threatened.


Cockroaches have been the bane of people for thousands of years. They are opportunistic pests and will eat just about anything they can find. These insects are nocturnal. Daytime sightings indicate a significant problem. Their primary threat to humans is disease transmission from parasites, human pathogens, and bacteria. Remember that they often travel through garbage or rotting foods.

Cockroaches are skittish and will spend daytime hours hiding in crevices and cracks. They prefer damp, dark areas, such as basements. They often make it into homes as stowaways in boxes or other packing materials. Signs of an infestation include droppings, which some people may mistake for waste from mice. Like stink bugs, cockroaches, well, stink, too.


Typical rodent pests include field mice, squirrels, Norway rats, and chipmunks. Part of the reason they’re so destructive is that their teeth grow their entire lives. Gnawing keeps them trim, whether it’s bark outside or the paneling in your house. While they don’t live long, they are prolific breeders, with litters every three weeks. Philadelphia has the dubious distinction of having the most households with rodents.

You’ll likely see droppings before you see any rodents in your home. You’ll also see gnawing, whether it’s on food packaging or the trim. These pests also give off a disagreeable odor. And heaven forbid if any of them die underneath the floorboards or behind a wall. Rodents don’t need a large opening to get inside of your home. A hole or crack the size of a pencil is enough for them to squeeze through.

Getting Rid of Pests

Of course, prevention is the best way to control pests of any kind. Bear in mind that stink bugs, cockroaches, and rodents are looking for shelter as temperatures start to drop in northern California. It’s a matter of survival for them. It often is a source of food and water, too. Your best defense is to make your home as inhospitable as possible by shoring things up and making it difficult to gain entry.

That means repairing any holes or cracks in your foundation. It’s also helpful to fix any gaps under doorways where pests can sneak into your home. Another way you can keep pests at bay is by trimming plants along the perimeter of your house to take away the cover they would rely on to get access inside while unseen by you.

It’s also imperative to keep things tidy inside and outside of your home. Keep garbage can lids sealed tight, and pick up your pet’s food dishes and water bowls. These pests have a keen sense of smell that helps them find food, wherever it exists.

Dealing With an Infestation

If you believe you have an infestation on your hands, the the wisest course of action is to call in the professionals like Gecko Pest Control. Often, control involves a multi-faceted approach using traps, pesticides, and bait stations. Bear in mind that some methods require certification and application by trained service reps.

It also takes experience to recognize the subtle signs of a problem. Our team members can offer advice about things you can do to control an existing issue and prevent a recurrence. You can rest assured that Gecko Pest Control will handle your pest infestation safely and effectively.

Final Thoughts

Pests can serious health risks that make control imperative to keep you and your family free from harm. Unfortunately, cooler temperatures also get stink bugs, cockroaches, and rodents on the move to look for places to overwinter. Don’t let that hideaway be your home. Call or email us today to get your free quote. Let us help you reclaim your peace of mind with effective solutions that work.


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