The holidays approach. Frost coats the tips of grass on your lawn. Winter is here.
Insect eggs aren’t hatching. Flies and mosquitoes aren’t buzzing. But you still seem to have some kind of pest infestation in your house. Why?
Most homeowners aren’t aware that winter doesn’t necessarily kill off all pests. It brings many of them indoors, often right into your house. Here are the five most critical winter pest problems you should be aware of and how you can prevent them.
Rodents are the most common winter infestation. Their collapsible skeleton allows rodents to squeeze into tiny spaces. For example, a mouse can get through a dime-size hole, while a rat can compress its body through a quarter-size hole. After they get into your home, rodents will aggressively search for food and reproduce at a rapid pace.
Prevent rodent infestation this winter by applying drywall or caulking any gaps in your house’s walls, foundation, doors, and windows. Seal your food in containers and don’t store the containers on low-hanging shelves.
Termites love your firewood, particularly because they can burrow through it and stay inside on a cold night. Once they’re in your house, they will try to find other wood materials to consume like your floors and furniture.
To keep them out of your house, store your firewood on a raised platform outside and cover it with a plastic sheet. This storage solution will both protect the wood from infestation and increase the temperature, killing any insects who try to make your wood their home.
Depending on the species, certain spiders look for warm, dry places like your air vents. Others look for warm, moist places like your basement. They tend to like dark places within your house, entering through small cracks in your doors and windows. Once they’ve taken residence, spiders are difficult to find and, therefore, challenging to remove.
Most of the spiders you see in the Chicagoland area aren’t poisonous. They may, however, bite you or your pet. They also can lay a significant amount of eggs, potentially skyrocketing the amount of spiders who live in your home.
To spider-proof your home, seal up cracks and gaps in your doors and windows. Repair, or replace, any torn window screens. These little entryways are ground-zero for spider infestations.
After you’ve sealed these areas up, dust your home thoroughly. Spiders feed on other insects, some too tiny to see, but if you’ve vacuumed the dust up, you’ve probably gotten all the bugs with it. Once you’ve dusted, vacuum your carpets. Clean your upholstery and your window treatments. This intense cleaning process should rid your home of spider eggs while your current spider population dies out.
Cockroaches become a problem in your home, particularly in the winter months, because they seek out warmth. What exacerbates this problem is your schedule of holiday parties.
Between the stocked pantry, the regular food preparation, the crumbs of food that fall off your guests’ plate, and the leftover dishes that linger into the morning after the party, cockroaches who discover warmth in your house have plenty to eat.
Stop cockroaches from moving into to your home by meticulously removing trash, compost, and recycling from the house. Wipe down your kitchen counter tops, dining room table, and other surfaces where you and your guests might dine.
Keep your floors clean, too, sweeping and vacuuming them regularly. Store foods in tightly sealed containers, like Tupperware, and wipe down the shelves within your pantry. Clean out crumbs and spills out in your refrigerator as well.
If you do host a dinner party, don’t leave the dishes until the following morning. Collect the dishes immediately after your guests leave. Though you might not have the energy to wash everything that night, you can leave the dishes in soapy water and avoid attracting cockroaches. Once clean, hang or place your pots and pans upside.
As winter progresses, review our description of common winter infestation issues and how you can prevent them in your house. If you do discover that pests have made your house their home, contact Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management and ask about our residential pest control services. We offer a tri-annual service, which includes an inspection and pest prevention treatment in summer, spring, and fall. We also offer a single service, a one-time infestation treatment with a 90-day guarantee.