During the summer, much of the pest control activity is focused on the outdoors. Mosquito control is a significant concern. Trapping or killing bees and wasps is another crucial summertime pest control goal. But pest control doesn't end with the conclusion of the warm summer months. That's why you should be focused on winter pest control.
As the weather grows cold, people tend to move indoors, and so do the pests. That makes wintertime the right time for indoor pest control. Winter pest control is all about securing your home, inside and out, so pests can't invade. Like humans, animals are seeking shelter, warmth, and something to eat. When the weather grows cold, and food becomes scarce, many pests move indoors to find what they need. To keep pests at bay, you need to cut off the supply of food, shelter, and warmth.
Pests to Worry About During Winter
Some common outdoor pests will die off or hibernate when the weather grows cold. Mosquitoes, bees, and wasps are scarce during this time of year. But indoor pests are flourishing. Some of the most common winter pests include rats, mice, carpenter ants, raccoons, squirrels, and cockroaches.
Most pest control professionals can easily handle insects and small rodents. If you have a problem with squirrels, raccoons, or other wild animals, you may need a specially trained and licensed technician.
Sealing Your Home
The first step in winter pest control is sealing your home as much as possible. If pests can't find a way in, they won't be able to make themselves at home in your home. First, scan the outside of your home for any cracks or holes. While a small crack or tiny hole may seem acceptable, keep in mind that a mouse can squeeze through a hole no larger than a dime. Search especially well along the foundation of your home, near windows, and around pipes or other fixtures that penetrate the outer wall of your home.
If you find a hole or crack, you need to fill it in a way that rats and mice can't chew through it. Norway rats have been known to gnaw through almost anything, including even plastic. The best way to seal a hole so a rat or mouse can't get in is with steel wool and caulk. First, fit as much steel wool as you can into the crack or hole. Next, inject caulk into the hole, filling any gaps. Rats and mice can do a lot of chewing, but steel wool can stop even a determined rodent.
In addition to holes and cracks, some pests get into your home the same way you do: through the front door. Many pests are more than happy to walk right into your house uninvited, even when the door is shut. Smaller pests, like ants and spiders, have no trouble fitting under your door. To prevent any intrusion, make sure that weather stripping is present and in good condition around all doors and windows. Replace cracked or worn weather stripping. You can also install a sweep on your doors to keep pests out. You'll get the added benefit of making your home more energy efficient by keeping warm air in and cold air out.
Shut Down the Pest Superhighway
Besides sealing your home, another great way to keep pests out of your home is shutting down the pest superhighway. There are some common paths that pests use to get into your home. If you get rid of those, you'll make it much harder for unwanted visitors to invade your home.
One problem that many homeowners overlook is trees that touch your roof. A tree that touches your roof—or even if it just hangs close—is like a bridge into your home.
Rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels, and even larger animals like raccoons, can easily leap from a hanging tree branch onto your roof. From there, it's not hard for them to find a way into your home. If your home was built properly, it should have some vents that lead from your attic to your roof. They make a perfect entry point for pests.
Another way pests can get from your roof into your home is through openings like chimneys and pipes that ventilate heating systems, bathrooms, and gas appliances. Pest control experts recommend covering these openings with a screen or grate. However, with mice able to squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, screens don't always work. That's why it is essential that you keep tree branches away from your roof to keep the pests off in the first place.
Insects can also travel along tree branches onto your roof and into your home. This is especially a problem when branches actually touch your roof. Pests like carpenter ants can follow a hanging branch onto your roof and quickly make themselves at home in the bones of your house. Once carpenter ants and other wood-destroying insects settle in, the damage can mount quickly. Eliminating wood-destroying insects can be costly, and making the necessary repairs afterward can also run up a hefty bill.
Don't Give Pests a Hiding Place
Pests like to stay hidden. That's why you rarely see a mouse scurry across your living room, or a line of carpenter ants marching across your kitchen counter. That's what makes them so hard to spot and control. But it also gives you the opportunity to remove some pest habitat. The fewer places there are for pests to hide, the less likely they are to settle in and make themselves at home.
One way to deprive pests of a hiding place is to keep your home tidy, inside and out. That doesn't mean you have to dust your gutters, but it does mean avoiding piles of debris. Rats, mice, spiders, and cockroaches all like to hide in dark corners. A messy pile of boxes in your basement is prime real estate for these pests. The more tidy and organized you keep your belongings, the less appealing your basement is to pests. Neatly stacked boxes with clear spaces between them mean fewer hiding places. Well organized belongings also don't hold as much moisture as a pile of debris. Cockroaches especially love moisture; they need it to survive. Keeping your basement and attic spaces dry and organized makes them less attractive to pests.
Another place pests like to hide is in piles of yard debris outside your home. In the winter, animals look for warmth and shelter. Pile of leaves, or even a neatly stacked pile of firewood, is a welcome shelter from the cold. To avoid building a pest hotel next to your home, keep all firewood and yard debris as far as possible from your home. Twenty feet is ideal, but if you don't have that much space, just use what you have.
Winter Pest Control from the Experts
Winter is not a time to let your guard down. Pests can flourish in your home if you don't take the right precautions.
If you want to make sure your home stays pest-free this winter, schedule a visit from a TrustDALE certified pest control expert. These highly-trained professionals can secure your home and make sure that pests don't stand a chance. Contact your local TrustDALE certified pest control company today to get ahead on your winter pest control.