As summer comes to a close, you may still be wearing your shorts and flip-flops. It’s true that here in the South summer can stretch well into September and even October, but fall is just around the corner. And like most things in life, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to prepare your home for fall pest control. Instead, take time now while the weather is still warm and the days are long to protect your home from the onslaught of pests that accompanies cooler fall weather.
When the weather eventually does get cooler, most homeowners find themselves spending a little more time indoors. After a long summer of outdoor fun, it’s nice to snuggle into your favorite comfy clothes and sip on some hot tea or cocoa. But just like you enjoy finding a warm spot inside, pests are also looking for refuge from the dropping temperatures. If your home is keeping you warm and dry, you can bet that insects, rodents, and other pests will love that shelter, too. So now is the time to prepare for fall pest control, before colder weather drives pests into your home.
Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do on your own to help prevent an infestation when the weather turns. By following these ten helpful tips, you can protect your home. However, sometimes there’s just no foolproof way to keep out every last pest. That’s why we recommend that you contact a TrustDALE certified pest control company in your area to help develop your cool-weather pest control plan.
1. Protect Openings
The number one thing you can do to keep pests out is to close off points of entry. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid openings to your home. Chimneys, roof vents, and mail slots are like welcome mats, inviting pests into your home. To keep pest outs, consider adding screens to these openings, especially chimneys and vents. All you need is a little window screening and a few screws to post a big KEEP OUT sign for local pests.
2. Avoid Moisture
Just like people, almost all pets need some form of water. Many pests are especially attracted to moist or damp areas. So avoiding the buildup of moisture in your home—especially in unfinished areas like attics, garages, and basements—is a great way to make your home less welcoming to pests. If you find that these areas of your home are damp, you can install a dehumidifier. A damp basement or attic may also by a symptom of bigger problems. If your attic is collecting moisture, you may have inadequate ventilation. Try contacting a TrustDALE certified roofer to learn how you can keep your attic dry. If your basement won’t stay dry, you can contact a TrustDALE certified basement and crawl space expert to help seal your home.
3. Seal Your Home
Rodents are amazing acrobats and contortionists. Some rodents, like mice and rats, can squeeze through a hole no larger than a dime or a crack as thin as a pencil. That means that sealing cracks and crevices on the outside of your home is crucial to keeping pests out. Of course, most insects can get into even the smallest holes, so there is really no hole too small to fill. Unfortunately, many rodents and insects can chew through common sealants, like caulk. The best way to prevent pests from chewing through your sealant is to combine a sealant with steel wool. Shove some steel wool into the hole you are trying to fill and then spray the caulk over and around the steel wool. The steel wool is impossible for pests to chew through, and the caulk will help make a tight seal.
4. Keep Clean
Besides water, the most important thing pests need to live is food. Keeping surfaces clean and food containers sealed will deprive pests of the food they need to survive. Luckily, a little good housekeeping is all it takes to keep food out of reach of pests. Clear the table well after each meal, sweep up food crumbs, and keep counters clean. Store food in airtight containers. And make sure that garbage cans are all sealed properly. That includes cans in your home, in your garage, or outside within 20 feet of your home.
5. Repair Worn-Out Mortar and Weather Stripping
Your home is built with some rather large openings, but luckily they can be easily sealed. Keeping windows and doors closed when you’re not using them is an easy way to keep pests out. But if the weather stripping on your doors and windows is starting to dry, crack, or crumble, closing them won’t help. The same is true of the mortar around your chimney, siding, or foundation. Some simple repairs to these parts of your home will not only keep out pests; they will also seal your home from cold fall and winter air. Keeping out drafts has the added benefit of reducing energy costs during the colder months.
6. Clear the Area Around Your Home
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it makes sense to keep some firewood piled up outside your home. But make sure to keep any pile of wood at least 20 feet from your home. Insects, spiders, mice, rats, and larger rodents can make a cozy home in your stack of firewood. But if that stack is too close to your home, it could be an easy jump from the firewood to inside your walls or basement. Also, keep shrubbery and grass around your home well-trimmed. Reducing the habitat for pests around your home will make them less likely to take the next step into your home.
7. Seal Windows and Doors
In addition to repairing weather stripping and mortar around doors and windows, screens and door sweeps are a great way to seal your home. Even during the fall and winter, there will be times you want to keep your windows open. Repairing or replacing torn window screens will ensure that even when the window is open, nothing can get in. Door sweeps are another excellent tool for keeping your home pest-free. They seal the crack along the bottom of your door and help keep out any unwanted guests.
8. Don’t Carry in Pests
Pests don’t just enter your home through cracks and other openings. Some pests may skip the hard way in and instead hitch a ride on boxes and bags you bring into your home. If you have a box or package that sat outdoors for a while, make sure to dust it off and check it well for bugs and pests before you bring it in. Some pests may make their homes in warm, dry habitat provided by boxes and bags, so be sure to shake out and check anything you bring into your home.
9. Don’t Feed the Pests
Some homeowners may be unwittingly feeding the pests that would like to invade their homes. Don’t leave out bowls of pet food for any longer than it takes your pets to consume their meal. Even scraps in the bowl can be a hearty meal for small rodents and insects. If you have a bird feeder, use a mount that makes it hard for rodents to access the feed inside. Also, look out for spilled birdseed and sweep up any fallen food. Never leave garbage, especially food garbage, outside your home without placing it in a sealed trash bin. Rodents and insects can easily penetrate a trash bag to find a tasty meal.
10. Fix Your Drainage System
Pests, like people, need water to survive. If water is not properly draining from around your home, you could be creating habitat for the very pests you want to keep away. Make sure that gutters are clear and draining quickly. Clogged gutters full of leaves and other organic matter are an ideal habitat for many types of insects. Also, check the drainage around your foundation. Make sure that water is not pooling around any part of your property. If your property is not draining properly, contact a TrustDALE certified drainage expert.
Finding the Best Pest Control
In addition to the DIY solutions, forming a relationship with a reliable pest control company is the best way to keep your home pest-free. A pest control company can visit your home on a regular schedule, usually once a quarter, and take preventive action to keep pests out. If you have an acute problem, like a pest infestation, have a reliable pest control specialist who knows your home is a huge benefit. Check out these TrustDALE certified pest control experts in your area.