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Colder Weather Means More Pests Looking for Warm Indoor Homes

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When winter weather arrives, some pests go into hibernation. Unfortunately for homeowners,  other pests find themselves seeking warmth and food, thus entering homes. This means that despite some myths to the contrary, winter is not the time to pause your pest control services. 

In fact, The National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take precautions against common winter pests. This includes animals and insects, from mice and rats to raccoons, cockroaches to spiders, and even termites. Read on to learn how colder weather means more pests looking for warm indoor homes, and how to protect your home from these unwanted guests

Raccoons

Starting with the largest of our winter pests is the raccoon. Raccoons are commonly found in the wooded eastern portions of the country but can be found in most cities, as well. This wild animal occasionally enters homes through attics or chimneys in search of a denning site. While they can look like cute masked bandits, raccoons are a major host of rabies in the United States. Not cute at all!

To prevent raccoons on your property, always store trashcans and recycling bins in sealed areas. For example, garages, locked sheds, or outhouses. If trashcans are kept outdoors, use animal-proof lids to keep raccoons out. Also, keep tree branches trimmed back from the house to avoid creating an easy bridge for critters into your home. 

Before it gets too cold, give your house a quick once over. Inspect the outside of your home for potential access points, such as broken vent covers. If you notice any loose siding or house shingles, this might be a sign of an invasion or could give raccoons an in when they try. If you’re worried about a possible raccoon or wild animal infestation, ALWAYS call a professional. Wild animal removal is NOT a DIY endeavor

A professional pest or wildlife removal company will send an experienced tech to inspect your home make repairs. They can install a mesh cover or cap over chimneys and other exposed openings to prevent animal entry. 

Rodents

House Mice

The house mouse is the most commonly encountered rodent in the United States. They can slip through openings the size of a dime (yes, really that tiny!) and like to nest in dark, secluded areas like attics and basements. Unfortunately, mice can cause serious property damage by chewing through drywall. They also pose a great risk of chewing wires that could spark an electrical fire. Aside from physical damage, house mice are known to contaminate food and spread diseases, including Salmonella and tapeworms.

Because mice can enter your home through even the tiniest gap, a professional will be best equipped to find such openings and seal them properly. To avoid attracting mice, you should keep attic and basement areas clear and store boxes off of the floor. Too much clutter provides the perfect cover for these rodents and can delay the discovery of an issue. 

In general, you should regularly inspect your home for signs of mice, such as droppings, gnaw marks, and damaged food. If you find such signs, contact a professional right away. 

Rats

Norway rats often nest in basements, piles of debris, and other undisturbed materials during harsh winter months. These rodents can leave a lot of damage in their wake, as they’ll gnaw through almost anything – including plastic or lead pipes – to obtain food or water. Norway rats are also a vector of many diseases like jaundice, rat-bite fever, and cowpox virus.

Although bigger than mice, Norway rats can fit through an opening as small as ½ inch -about the size of a quarter. To prevent them from entering your home, a professional inspection and home-sealing will help. 

You should also eliminate sources of moisture in crawl spaces and basements. Crawlspace encapsulation can be especially helpful if you’ve ever had a rat invasion. As with any of these pests, early detection is key. Thus, you should regularly inspect inside your home for signs of an infestation, such as greasy rub marks caused by the rat’s oily fur.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are often thought to be indestructible. However, these pests cannot survive temperatures lower than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. That means they will invade your home to live through the winter. Cockroaches can hitchhike their way indoors via grocery bags, boxes, and secondhand appliances. 

They are commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. Cockroaches are problematic as they can contaminate food sources and spread bacteria and human pathogens. In fact, cockroach allergens have been known to trigger allergies and exacerbate asthma symptoms. This is especially prevalent in children.

        

To prevent cockroaches in your home, keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs.

Vacuum frequently and dispose of garbage regularly. You should pay attention to kitchens and bathrooms, especially under appliances and sinks. Since cockroaches are so common - and so determined - regular pest treatments may be required to keep them out of your home. 

Termites

There are two important things to know about termites. First: Every state in the U.S. is susceptible to termite infestation. Second: termites do not hibernate during the winter. And while it’s true that termites can’t survive outside in winter weather, like cockroaches they will find their way inside as a means of survival. 

Termite infestations that started in summer or fall will continue to do damage through winter. Termites infest places where they can get the things they need: food, water, and shelter. This wood-consuming pest can get dehydrated very easily. Thus, they need to infest wood that’s moist or near some source of moisture. Termites also tend to infest wood that’s already been damaged. 

To prevent your home from attracting termites, look for plumbing leaks, especially in dark areas of your home. Replace any wooden siding or frames that have been damaged. If you’ve noticed signs of termites, such as termite “tubes” or “tunnels,” or wood shavings, call a professional. 

Some at-home termite treatments can cause more issues long-term. For example, if you have a termite issue and use a hardware store spray to keep them away, you’ll just drive them to another part of your home. Most trained pest technicians will use a bait and kill treatment to cure your termite issue for years. 

Takeaways

If you are concerned about winter pests invading your home, consider hiring a professional pest control company to assess and treat your home. And when you use a TrustDALE certified professional, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee. So start looking for a trusted pest control and animal/wildlife removal professional in your area today!