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September 13, 2019

How to Avoid Fall Pests

By Lauren Hogarth

Fall pests can be a real mood-wrecker. Cold weather brings everyone indoors, including some of the more undesirable houseguests. Snuggling up on the sofa with a pair of fuzzy slippers and a blanket wrapped around your shoulders can be a comforting feeling— until something scurries across the living room floor.

Unfortunately, your family may not be the only ones enjoying the warmth of your home. Pests such as micecockroaches, flies, and certain species of spiders have life cycles that last longer than a year; meaning they must find shelter during the winter months to survive. Apart from being creepy-crawly, these pests can pose serious risks to both people and homes.

When making their nests in walls, rodents often chew on drywall and electrical wires, and they are known to pass on diseases including Hantavirus and salmonella. Cockroaches will leave droppings around the home, contaminate stored food, and, especially in children, can even trigger asthma. On top of it all, some spiders commonly found in and around homes are poisonous.

Below are ten pest-proofing tips that every homeowner can follow to more effectively keep pests outside during the fall and winter:

  1. Installing screens on attic vents and openings to chimneys, as well as keeping an eye on any other areas where the home may be open to the elements, such as animal doors and mail slots.
  2. Keep attics, crawl spaces, and basements dry and well-ventilated. Pests are attracted to areas with an abundance of moisture, which is something they need to survive. Running dehumidifiers in garages and basements will help to keep these areas dry.
  3. Caulk and seal any noticeable cracks and crevices on the outside of the home. Be especially mindful of the areas where utility pipes enter the structure. Keep in mind that many rodents can fit through a dime-sized hole.
  4. Keep kitchen counters clean, dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles, and store food in airtight containers. A buildup of trash and crumbs are an attractant to pests scavenging for a bite to eat. We recommend properly cleaning up and disposing of all waste after meals and to ensure garbage cans remain closed when they are stored inside of the home or outbuilding.
  5. Replacing weather-stripping and repairing loose mortar around the foundation and windows is another means. Both are simple ways to keep not only pests but also cold air from entering the home.
  6. Keep shrubbery well-trimmed and store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house. By merely removing areas where pests can hide near your home, you can significantly reduce the chance of them finding a way ins.
  7. Install door sweeps and always repair damaged screens. Cracks under doors and torn window screens are ideal entry points for most household pests. When you open a window with a damaged screen, you are likely allowing more than just fresh air to enter.
  8. Inspect items such as package deliveries, boxes of decorations, and grocery bags before bringing them inside. Pests often find creative ways to enter a home. Shake out and thoroughly inspect anything that has been left or stored outside or in the garage.
  9. Avoid leaving pet dishes outdoors for prolonged periods. Pests will not discriminate between cat food and human food. Dishes that have been left sitting outside are extremely attractive to all kinds of rodents and insects.
  10. Have and maintain a proper drainage system on the exterior of your home. Installing gutters or making repairs an existing system will help to draw water and moisture away from your home, which prevents any leaks or build-up that may attract unwanted houseguests (is not effective for in-laws, though!).

Following these pest-proofing tips in the fall when the temperature begins to drop is the most effective way to protect your home and prevent any pest infestation during the winter months. However, if you think you have a pre-existing pest infestation, be sure to contact a pest control or wildlife professional to assess the situation.

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