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Eek! 7 gross pests to watch out for in Metro Vancouver this winter

You'll want to keep these pests out of your home.
As the Metro Vancouver weather forecast cools off, nuisance critters make their way indoors.

Winter is coming — and so is an army of nasty critters (if you don't prepare your home). 

That's the message from pest control company Orkin Canada, which states that creepy-crawlies seek warmth as the mercury drops, resulting in bedlam for people who are trying to keep their pads pest-free. 

Orkin jokes that human homes are something of a "winter chalet" for tiny Canadian critters, offering a veritable smorgasbord of food, water, and shelter from harsh, wintry conditions. 

Based on recent forecasts from Weatherhood, temperatures across the Lower Mainland are already low enough to encourage pests to head inside. Over the past week, neighbourhoods in the City of Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, and other cities have seen temperatures fall below the freezing mark.

Based on its seasonal data, the company says homeowners and renters should be on the lookout for seven pest suspects this winter. 


For the seventh year running, Vancouver is B.C.'s rattiest city (yuck!). It is also the second-rattiest city in the country, according to the number of rodent (rat and mice) treatments the company performed from Aug. 1, 2022, through July 31, 2023. 

Orkin states that business owners saw a "busy summer as more folks returned to pre-pandemic dining patterns, creating more food waste for rats and mice to feast on and leading to the potential growth of robust populations." 

Okrin's mouse data lines up with what the owner of Vancouver-based Westside Pest Control told V.I.A. He said his company experienced a jaw-dropping 100 per cent increase in calls about the petite, nuisance critters.


Earwigs may look gross, but thankfully they aren't dangerous and they won't sting, pinch, or bite you. But they probably aren't something that you want sticking around in your house, either. 

Unfortunately, they experienced a "population explosion" during the summer and may enter your place via outdoor furniture and other items. 

Boxelder bugs

An aesthetically appealing bug, the boxelder has beautiful black and red markings on its wings. Sadly, the things they leave behind them are far from pretty. 

The tiny insects leave excrement stains in places they've been, making them very irritating houseguests. They also "release a noxious odour when threatened or crushed." They spend most of their time outside in Metro Vancouver in the summer but can make their way inside homes over the winter.


They may thrive outside in wooded and grassy areas but they can also cause some of the worst infestations. While they are hardy creatures, Orkin notes that extreme cold or flooding may send them fleeing indoors. 

Metro Vancouver renters have shared horror stories of cockroach infestations, including one case where one of them crawled inside a woman's ear. In another instance, an out-of-control infestation spread to six other apartments. 

Cluster flies

Cluster flies are parasites of earthworms. If that isn't disgusting enough, they also tend to emerge in substantial numbers in the spring and form clusters around windows. If your home is toasty, their hibernation schedule might get thrown out the window and they will appear on decomposing organic materials. 

Thankfully, these insects don't carry disease — but they will leave gross stains behind. 

Stink Bugs

As the name implies, these pests produce a foul odour when they are threatened or killed. They reproduce rapidly during the summer and look at your home as a toasty place to hang out during the winter. 

They're called the brown marmorated stink bug and last fall (2022) the B.C. government issued a pest warning and declared them a public nuisance.

The B.C. government has put together a pamphlet on how to get rid of the bugs once they are in your house and advises sealing off access points to prevent them from entering. They do not recommend the use of insecticides in the home as a method of control.


The final pest is really three larger critters: raccoons, squirrels, and skunks.

While people tend to find this trio rather adorable, they can cause several serious issues for homeowners. Orkin says they've "been feasting on abundant food resources, which may result in increased wildlife populations seeking shelter during a potentially harsh winter."

You can use V.I.A.'s Weatherhood to get the Metro Vancouver weather forecast for over 50 neighbourhoods across the region. 

With files from Allie Turner.