Winter is coming and with it, the potential for pests to invade your home are a very likely possibility. You might think that creepy crawly insects and rodents hibernate during the colder months, but that’s not always true – and they certainly don’t sleep all winter, like some of us thought growing up.
Instead, during these colder times, many pests look for shelter and protection from the elements inside your house. But while venturing inside might help them out, it can cause damage to your home and health problems for your family.
You don’t want to deal with these unwanted guests during the holiday season, do you? That’s why you should prevent pests from entering your home and ruining your winter wonderland this time around.
But how can you do that effectively and efficiently? We have some helpful tips to boost your winter pest control regime and help you know what critters to watch out for.
Winter might seem like off-season for pests like spiders and rodents, but it’s just when they get a little sneakier. Here are some common pests to keep an eye out for this winter.
- Rodents: Mice and rats are notorious for sneaking into homes through teeny tiny cracks, holes or gaps. They can chew on wires, insulation and furniture and even snag your food when you’re not looking. But it’s not just that – they can also spread diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus and contaminate your home with their droppings. These pests definitely make themselves known, so it’s essential to stay alert.
- Cockroaches: These creepy crawlers can survive in almost any environment but prefer warm and moist places. Cockroaches can hide in kitchens, bathrooms, basements and crawl spaces. They feed on pretty much anything, including garbage, food scraps and even glue. They can also trigger asthma and allergies and carry E. coli and Salmonella – you might not always see them, so its vital to plan ahead.
- Spiders: Some spiders may seek refuge in your home during the winter, especially in dark and secluded areas such as attics, closets and corners. While most spiders are harmless, you can come across the occasionally eight-legged critter that’s ready to bite. While it might not be possible to stop all spiders from entering your home, you can stop an infestation by being prepared before they start making moves.
- Termites: These wood-eating insects can cause severe structural damage to your home if left untreated. They can feed on wooden beams, floors, walls, furniture and even books. They can also create mud tubes that allow them to travel from the soil to the wood, potentially causing structural damage that could cost thousands. Termites are active all year round, but they may swarm during the spring to find new places to colonize, making the winter the perfect time to check for existing damage and put preventive pest control measures in place.
How to Prevent Pests For a Pest-Free Winter: 5 Quick Tips
Ready to pest-proof your home from the unwanted pets above (and then some)? You’ve come to the right place. Here are some helpful lists to add to your Fall to-do list to get your home holiday-ready and hopefully free of any unwanted pests.
Seal Any Unwanted Gaps
One of the most effective ways to keep pests out of your home is to seal any cracks, holes or gaps they can use as entry points. How can you do this? By inspecting the exterior of your house and looking for any openings around the foundation, windows, doors, pipes, vents and roof, you can identify any missing bricks, rotted wood, foundational cracks and more.
If you see a gap, you can use caulk, weather-stripping, mesh screens, or steel wool to seal these holes to prevent rodents, spiders and other annoying pests from squeezing through. You should replace any damaged or loose mortar around the basement and windows just to be safe – this will also give you an insulation boost!
Keep Your Home Clean & Tidy
Another critical step to prevent pest infestations is maintaining a clean and clutter-free environment inside your home (and even outside, too). Pests are attracted to food sources and hiding places, so you should store your food in airtight containers, clean up any spills or crumbs and dispose of your garbage pretty regularly.
It might be hard as most pet owners know, but if you’re home is prone to pests, you should also avoid leaving pet food out overnight. This can attract rodents and other pests looking for food and shelter.
Additionally, you should keep your storage areas well organized and store boxes off the floor and in high-traffic areas. Of course, you don’t need to display your food like a grocery store, but save the extra, top pantry shelf for non-food items so you can always keep an eye on your snacks.
Eliminate Excess Moisture (Pests Love It)
Moisture is another thing that can attract pests to your home, especially cockroaches and termites which thrive in moist environments. These pests need water to survive and worst of all thrive, so eliminate any sources of moisture in your home.
Check your pipes for leaks and fix them as soon as possible. You should also clear any clogged drains and gutters that can cause water accumulation. Following this momentum, keep your attics, basements and crawl spaces well-ventilated and dry to prevent mold growth and pest infestation. Water itself can also be damaging to your home and health, so this is an easy maintenance task you can add to your to-do list anyway.
Store Your Firewood Properly
If you use firewood to heat your home during the winter, be careful about how and where you store it
Firewood can become home to pests such as mice, ants, spiders and termites. They use the wood as a helpful refuge as they plan their next move, which often leads to your home.
Try to store your firewood at least 20 feet from your house and keep it off the ground on a raised platform. Inspect the firewood before bringing it inside and burn it as soon as possible, too. Make a habit of being active around the area as well to show pests it’s not as quiet and inviting as it seems.
Make Sure to Trim Your Trees
Another step in the preventive pest control process takes you out of your home and into your backyard. A great way to control pests includes trimming the trees and shrubs around your house. Some pests like ants, spiders and squirrels can use the branches as bridges to access your roof, windows or walls – and you really don’t want a family of squirrels nesting in your attic closet.
Keep outdoor vegetation at least three feet from your house and prune any overhanging branches. This also helps prevent damage to your roof and siding from falling limbs or snow accumulation.
For Maximum Protection, Hire a Professional
While these tips can help you prevent pest problems during the winter season, sometimes hiring a professional pest prevention service is the best way to ensure your home is pest-free.
A professional pest control company can inspect your home for any signs of harmful and annoying pest activity, identify which pest it is and kickstart the right treatment methods to eliminate them safely and effectively. Professional pest prevention service providers can also offer you helpful advice on preventing future infestations and protecting your home from pests all year round, putting together a plan that works for your home and your family.
If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced pest control company in South Carolina, you can trust Terminix to handle any and all of your pest needs – we’ve seen and done it all. Terminix has been helping families like yours in South Carolina and the surrounding area for decades and has a team of trained and certified technicians who can deal with any pest problem you may have.
Whether you need pest control for any of the winter pests we touched on above, or you just want to gauge what needs to be done to ensure a pest-free season, Terminix can provide a customized solution that suits your needs and budget.