3 min read
Rodent chewing a hole in a box

With exoskeletons, antennae, wings, fur, and compound eyes, they have decided to call your living space home. Cooler temperatures signal seasonal change, prompting various bugs and rodents to seek winter refuge. As temperatures drop outside, finding food, water, and shelter becomes more difficult. This can cause unwanted visitors to invade your residence looking for these disappearing resources they need to survive. So, why not your home?

According to a survey by Raid, an S. C. Johnson and Son company, 74 percent of Americans believe they have more bugs in their home during the summer. The truth is that homes remain vulnerable to unwanted visitors, such as ants, cockroaches, fleas, flies, silverfish, spiders, and ticks, well into the cooler months. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) lists mice, opossums, raccoons, rats, and squirrels among the common rodents to creep into homes between the months of October and February. These pests can carry and spread a multitude of diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, the Hantavirus, Lyme disease, rabies, salmonella, staph, strep, and tuberculosis. Unwelcome guests may infiltrate homes through any crack or crevice they can find. There are steps people can take to stay ahead of the “fall crawl” and keep unwanted seasonal visitors out of your home.

Take Preventative Action

Most homeowners don’t even consider winter pests until there are signs of an infestation that includes:

  • Scampering or gnawing sounds late at night in the attic or behind walls.
  • Droppings found in undisturbed areas of the house.
  • Aggregation of insects on the sunny side of your home at which point extermination becomes more difficult.

Rodents alone can be very destructive as they chew through packaged goods, cardboard boxes, walls near pipes and vents, and electrical wiring. According to the NPMA, nearly 21 million United States households fight rodent infestations each year during the winter.

Want to keep pests out of your homes during the cooler months? Take preventative action before there is a problem. The goal is to keep as many pests out as possible while making your home as inhospitable to the few that find their way in. Try these winter pest-proofing tips.

Seal Your Home

  • Weatherproof all windows and doors, sealing off cracks around ledges and edges.
  • Seal cracks and holes outside the home including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
  • Screen openings and vents to chimneys.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around foundations and windows.
  • Repair rotten fascia and roof shingles since insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Check your home for light leaks, caulking cracks along with bathroom and kitchen fixtures. The tiniest cracks can enable insects to sneak in and provide them with easy access to the water they need for survival.

Defend Against Pests

  • Utilize long-lasting indoor/outdoor-labeled pesticide products around the perimeter of your house’s large entryways, applying both indoors and outdoors.
  • Keep pests out of sensitive indoor areas, such as backsplashes, bathrooms, and kitchen sinks using products labeled for these areas. Select those with a precise tip applicator to use in tight spots, cracks, and crevices.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home and 5 inches off the ground, inspecting wood before bringing it into the home.
  • Reduce rodent and insect attraction by keeping floors swept, counters wiped and storing food in the refrigerator or insect-resistant packaging. This is done to ensure you are not providing easy access to food and water for their survival.

Bad Habits Attract Pests

Cooling temperatures are not the only factor attracting unwelcome pests to your house. Slight changes to your everyday actions may be effective in reducing pest attraction to your home. Consider the following actions to keep pests out of your home.

  • Trim branches, plants, and bushes near the home as they serve as natural indoor entryways for pests.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers, disposing of it regularly.
  • Inspect bags, boxes, grocery bags, and other packages for hitchhiking bugs.
  • Clean up after the family pet leaving no extra food around.
  • Relocate recycling receptacles kept near the home. Remnants of soda and other food products can attract pests.
  • Reduce clutter sitting in an out-of-the-way place or even a regularly used room. Clutter may provide shelter (and even food) for several insect and rodent pests.

There are times where you may be able to eradicate pests yourself. Despite your best efforts to keep them out of your home, however, you may be forced to seek the expertise of a professional. Know when to leave it to a pro. Call a licensed pest management professional to determine the most effective treatment and control methods.