Cold weather can be deadly for rodents, insects, spiders, and other pests. As a result, the changing season makes your home particularly vulnerable to infestations. Once inside, these pests go right to work and destroy everything in sight-they chew through wires, get into your food, and shred insulation.
Pests aren’t just destructive-they’re dangerous. A rat in your house could expose your kids to salmonellosis, Hantavirus, and rat-bite fever. And with recent reports of the plague in Michigan, you have even more of a reason to protect your family from rodents.
Worst of all, pests breed-and they breed fast. For example, give six mice three months, and you’ll have 60 mice to deal with. If left unchecked, those 60 mice also reproduce and the infestation cycle continues until you have too many mice to deal with.
You want your home to be a refuge from the coming winter, but you don’t want to share it with rats, bats, beetles, ants, and spiders. Your best defense? Keep them out. Below, we’ll teach you how to winterize your home and seal it against pests.
Examine Your Home’s Exterior
Did you know that a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime? That’s just 1/4 of an inch in diameter. Critters of all sizes will try to get into your home this season, and they’ll get through any space you leave exposed to them, big or small.
The Big Three-rats, mice, and squirrels-are a homeowner’s first concern when autumn arrives. Should a rodent enter your home, you’ll have to consider poison or traps, and you’ll need to contact your pest-control company immediately. But if you’d rather skip the hassle of fighting angry rodents inside your own home, you’ll need to evaluate your home’s exterior and check for any cracks and holes.
Many homeowners prepare their abode for winter-weather conditions anyway, so take this extra step to safeguard against any unwanted pests. While you examine the walls of your home, look for light coming through cracks and check for air movement to clearly identify any potential entryways.
Seal Holes and Cracks
Any crevice you find should be sealed immediately, and it’s easy to do-hardware stores provide inexpensive tools and materials to weather- and pest-proof your home.
Check the sealing around your windows and doors (including basement and garage openings, which often get passed over). If the caulking or weather stripping looks chipped or broken, replace it. Examine your home’s foundation for cracks, and check the wood for rot or water-damage.
Make sure that the screens on your vents have not been chewed through or damaged. Cover any remaining vents with secure screen wire.
If you had anything installed or repaired in the house during the year, check for opened spots around the site. Dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators often aren’t sealed properly, and installers can leave holes in unlikely places.
Eliminate Potential Habitats
During the summer months, pests create cozy spaces for themselves near available food and water sources. They need these items to thrive, and as autumn approaches, they begin to winterize their habitats, just like you do. Many of these nests will be located near your home, and they can cause significant damage to your home’s exterior.
Use the following tips to eliminate potential habitats:
Clean out downspouts and gutters.
Remove debris near or against the house, including compost and rock piles, bricks, and other materials. Store trash cans and firewood away from the house.
Remove leaves and mulch.
Prune plants so that nothing touches your foundation, hangs over your roof, or rubs against your walls or porch.
Many pests will attempt to enter your home when they sense warmth and light. Another way to safeguard against pests is to keep the clutter around your house and inside your basement, garage, and attic to a minimum. Clutter creates space for pests to nestle in and make themselves at home.
Talk to a Specialist
As you prepare your home for winter, consider asking a pest control agency to inspect and troubleshoot your house. An expert may be able to spot potential entry points that you’ve missed, and they even set up glue traps and other chemical barriers to keep your home free of pests.
Should rodents, insects, or other pests enter your home this winter, call pest control immediately. Pests multiply quickly, especially in a habitable area, like the walls of your home or your attic insulation.
Many home owners try to tackle pests on their own by setting up complex traps and laying poison around their home. But if you take matters into your own hands, you could inadvertently cause unintended complications. A pest control company can eliminate hassle, danger, and frustration as they eliminate pests in humane ways. For more information on different pests you may encounter, visit the rest of our blog.