Pests — like the bed bugs that are making headlines in Paris right now — are a year-round concern for every facility, but various factors can significantly increase the likelihood of running into certain pest populations. By sifting through weather patterns, long-term forecasts, and pest biological behaviors, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has created its bi-annual Bug Barometer®, a forecast that shows what to expect from pest populations in regions across the U.S. this fall and winter.
Much of the country was met with bouts of heat waves, humidity, and thunderstorms this summer. With chilly and damp conditions just around the corner, NPMA’s entomology team is expecting a pest-ridden fall and winter season ahead with increased sightings of rodents, cockroaches, and stink bugs, among other pests.
NPMA’s Fall & Winter 2023 Bug Barometer® forecasts a spike in pest populations across the U.S.:
Northeast & New England: After a warm and rainy summer that allowed mosquito and stinging insect to flourish, mild fall temperatures could lead to extended insect activity. Expect to see increased tick pressure and increased rodent activity indoors if cold temperatures and above average snowfall occur in the region as forecasted.
Southeast: A hot summer followed by mild fall temperatures could allow stinging insects to remain active later into the season than usual. Above average temperatures and precipitation throughout the fall and winter months may also create conditions suitable for mosquitoes to persist this winter.
Great Lakes, Ohio Valley & Midwest: People should prepare for increased rodent activity as these pests look to move indoors seeking shelter for the winter as cold conditions and significant snowfall move in.
North Central U.S.: A cold winter with mild bouts of snowfall will drive rodents indoors in search of water, shelter, and warmth. Periodic bouts of warmer, sunny days throughout the winter will likely result in multicolored Asian lady beetle, boxelder bug and brown marmorated stink bug activity indoors.
South Central U.S.: Warm and wet conditions throughout the summer and fall could allow for tick and mosquito populations to remain active longer. Cooler than normal temperatures in the northern part of this region coupled with increased chances for snow could send rodents, cockroaches, and stink bugs indoors to flee the elements.
Southwest U.S.: As temperatures cool in the autumn, scorpions may seek shelter in easy to access areas in regions they are present. Cooler temperatures paired with increased precipitation may lead to increased rodent infestations throughout the winter months.
Northwest U.S.: A cold and somewhat snowy winter may send rodents scurrying inside in search of food and warmth.
Bed Bugs In The Office?
Bed bugs are typically thought to be a household pest, but according to NMPA they can hitchhike with people to their places of employment. In fact, a 2015 Bugs Without Borders survey by NPMA found that 45% of pest control professionals have encountered bed bugs in office buildings.
Here are some tips, courtesy of NPMA, to prevent bringing bed bugs home from the workplace:
- Vacuum and clean all areas including offices, hallways, lobbies, kitchens, storefronts and public bathrooms on a daily basis.
- Regularly inspect all areas of business for signs of bed bugs infestations at work. Pay close attention to the seams of furniture and upholstery for telltale brownish or reddish spots. Also beware that these pests have been known to inhabit electrical sockets, surge protectors and behind picture frames. Vigilance by all employees is key!
- Eliminate clutter as best as possible, especially in storage areas as this provides excellent hiding spots for bed bugs in the office.
- When unpacking new inventory or receiving shipments, carefully inspect all items and packaging for signs of bed bugs before bringing them into your business.
- Encourage employees to report suspicions of bed bug activity immediately, and always contact a pest professional to investigate each claim.
- Have a policy in place for employees who may suspect a bed bug infestation at home. Many times, employees unknowingly bring these bed bugs into the office. By having an open dialogue and official policy on these pest infestations, you may be able to help remove any concern of honest reporting.
- If a bed bug infestation is found, work with a professional pest control company to treat the infestation and perform follow-up inspections.
What can you do to keep these pests at bay? According to NPMA’s expert entomologists, it’s best to eliminate any areas of moisture in your facility and keep kitchens and food prep areas clean, storing food in airtight containers to keep pests out. Also, seal cracks and holes on the outside of the building and store boxes off of the floor to prevent pests from residing in undisturbed areas.