Subtropical PestsAs the snow finally begins to blow in Utah — we were all beginning to think winter would just pass us by this year — I am reminded of one of the best things about living in a place with seasons. A good hard winter freeze does wonders for keeping bugs at bay.

Growing up in Utah, I came to understand that nice homes never, ever had bug problems. If you kept your house clean, the bugs simply didn't make an appearance.

Then we moved to Boca Raton, Florida, and life changed. Suddenly the critters were everywhere. I had, very literally, never seen a cockroach until we moved into our townhouse rental. (I apologize for using the most revolting image ever on my site. It fits the topic, but I don't plan to make a habit of it.) Suddenly, they were everywhere, in the bathrooms, in the walls, in the cabinets, in the drawers, under the stove drip pans. I mean who lives under stove drip pans?!

No matter how I cleaned and scrubbed, the bugs were there. If any kind of food was placed in the pantry without being hermetically sealed, they were there. If a knife with so much as a dab of peanut butter was left on the counter for 15 minutes, there was a trial of ants marching back and forth collecting their prized meal.

Regularly, you'd see entire houses completely covered with thick plastic tarps (we called them bug bags) being “bombed” to get rid of the infestations.

Eventually I realized my impressions didn't apply to all climates. Climates with year-round heat were also prime breeding grounds for year-round, exponential pest multiplication.

The “solution” was to hire a monthly pest control service, put all the unsealed food in the refrigerator, and to freak out mightily if anyone left anything out as bait.

Today, even though I'm having a twinge of spring fever, I remind myself that the freeze isn't just making me cold, it's doing some natural pest control on my behalf.