Opossums (commonly referred to as “possums”) typically adapt to cold temperatures. However, if given the opportunity, it is possible for opossums to venture indoors. Leaving uncontained food, such as garbage, pet food or bird seed, outside your home may attract them. As part of an intimidation display opossums will show their teeth and hiss. They will also play dead as part of their defensive strategy. If you do encounter one in your home, close all doors to adjacent rooms and call a pest-management professional to assist.
Multicolored Asian lady beetles were first imported into North America as early as 1916 and can be beneficial to help control pests. However, unlike the native ladybug, multicolored Asian lady beetles seek refuge inside during colder months. Generally measuring 7 mm long and 5.5 mm wide as adults, they don’t inflict serious damage but do emit an unpleasant foul-smelling odor when disturbed. These beetles also bite, which can be painful and cause reactions for some. Seal up small cracks in your home to prevent infestations.
During the harsh winter months, mice and rats enjoy a warm home. Homeowner watch-outs include: easily accessible food (including open trash can lids), cracks and holes on the exterior of the home. A strong deterrent to mice and rats is to reduce food scraps. Inspect the exterior of your home and repair any holes larger than a dime, clean regularly, make sure trash lids are tight and ensure all food is put away and sealed.
The notion that spiders crawl into your home in the winter is actually a common myth. The reality is, most common household spiders found in your home during the winter months have actually lived there all year long. Outdoor spiders develop their own overwintering strategies that may include antifreeze proteins (AFPs) and finding shelter in rock or wood piles where they go through a slowdown state called diapause. The exception is the Brown Recluse Spider. These spiders seek clutter and dark, underused spaces in your home. The best method to help avoid spiders is to consistently vacuum and keep all spaces clutter-free.