Top Tips for Keeping Pests Outside This Winter

It is almost that time of the year when going out of your home seems like a punishment. You would rather snuggle in the comfort of your warm air conditioned home rather than go freezing outside. Same case applies to pests. When the temperatures drop and snow starts to fly, bugs, squirrels, mice, and other critters like them start feeling the cold and go on to search for places where they can hide and stay warm. And what better place to do so than in your house? If your home is not pest-proof when winter approaches, be ready to share your Christmas celebrations with a bunch of creepy pests.

Top pests that invade your home in the winter

Unfortunately, the winter months won’t leave your residence pest-free. The following are the most common winter pests that you should check for during the colder seasons:

  • TermitesTermites are not only warm-weather pests. Termite populations can survive throughout the winter months and will reproduce through late February. Due to the small size of termites, the insect can enter a home through even the smallest holes. Since termites feast on wood, they are commonly found below flooring and behind a home’s walls.
  • House Mice-Mice are most commonly found inside homes within the Carolinas from November to March. House mice prefer dark areas in attics and basements.
  • Cockroaches-Roaches infest homes and businesses year-round. The winter pests will commonly infest areas that provide access to food and water, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Cockroaches are linked to allergic reactions and can contaminate food items.
  • Raccoons-During the winter, raccoons search out areas around the home to create a den. Raccoons enter homes through holes in the attic or from an uncapped chimney. Raccoons do carry the risk of transmitting rabies to humans and pets.
  • Bed Bugs-Bed bugs are year-round pests and one of the biggest nuisances for any homeowner. Bed bug infestations are difficult to treat and will require the use of professional winter pest control services. Bed bugs survive on human blood and feast on hosts as they sleep.
  • Beetles-During the winter, beetle populations attempt to seek out food and shelter indoors. Two examples of winter pests are the Asian lady beetle and stinkbugs.

Winter pest control services can help if you spot any of the preceding bugs. Most winter pests will wait it out in your home until the spring rolls around. Prevent populations from growing exponentially by securing winter pest control services early on.

How to prevent winter pests

As the weather cools, pests seek out warm shelter. Pest activity is the highest right before the first frost as pests seek entry points around your home. Structural damage, holes in siding, or gaps in doorframes and window frames can act as an open door for pests. Most will hide in low-traffic areas of the home, like the basement, attic, and garage.

Home Maintenance

Home maintenance is an essential part of controlling winter pests. For starters, you should inspect the exterior of your property to search for entry points. Check the siding and roof shingles to confirm that you don’t see any visible damage. Replace broken pieces of siding and any missing shingles as needed. If you note any broken vent covers, replace these as well. Reinforce doors and windows by caulking to fill any holes and gaps.

Seal openings and cracks both inside and outside your home

To effectively control crawling pests such as squirrels and rodents this winter, you will need to seal any cracks, openings and crevices both inside and outside your home. Mice and rats can squeeze and fit themselves into openings the size of a dime! That means any small opening can be a leeway for them to enter your home. Keenly inspect the areas around utility pipes such as gas, water and sewer pipes serving your home. Check the plumbing pipes under your sinks both in the kitchen and bathrooms. Also pay close attention to windows and doors, they might have worn out, scuffed or damaged weather stripping that could allow for pest entry. If the doors and windows aren’t sealed perfectly, be creative with ways to adjust the seals until they fit snugly. Cracks and gaps on the sealing either aren’t safe, you do not want mice falling into your living room from the ceiling.

Clear any potential pest habitat around your home

Inspect your home’s surrounding to spot and remove any potential insect and pest habitats. Typically, pests love to shelter in places where they will find moisture, warmth, food and rest to reproduce in or hide away from predators. And if they find that place near your house, it will only be a matter of time before they start climbing or crawling into your home when winter temperatures rise. Consider the following pest control measures to keep them away from your house:

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts because accumulated debris can provide habitat to them.
  • Remove any debris and objects such as rock, boards and bricks resting against or placed near the house.
  • Store firewood away from the house.
  • Keep trash away from the home. Trash is the perfect feeding ground for many pests and can attract them to your house in large numbers. Also ensure that the trash cans stay closed always.
  • Prune any trees or tree branches that are overhanging on the roof and its gutters. Mice could use them to climb on your roof and build shop there.
  • Chimneys can provide an access point for winter pests. If you don’t have a chimney cap, arrange to install one. As an alternative, you could also use a mesh covering to protect the chimney from pests.
  • Put screens on vents. Not every hole or opening into your home is sealable. Some are designed to be open, such as the air vents around the house. If certain entries are meant to be there, consider placing screens over them to keep critters out.
  • Generally, inspect your whole yard to find anything that could make a decent shelter for pests. With nowhere to hide, pests will have no chance to try your home’s defenses.

Keep your kitchen clean

Keeping your home clean is another way to prevent winter pests. Pests such as mice and roaches are not only looking to invade your home during winter because of the cold, but also because they want your food! Pests are highly attracted to your kitchen because of easy access to food.

  • Never leave any food out for prolonged periods.
  • Remove pet food bowls after the animals have finished their meals.
  • Wipe down counters to get rid of crumbs.
  • Sweep the floor daily also to eliminate potential food sources for pests.
  • Avoid leaving grains such as cereal, bread or pasta unprotected.
  • Never leave dishes out overnight.

Importance of regular pest control in winter

Winter pest control will keep your home and yard free of nuisance wildlife and bugs year-round. Areas of your home, including the attic and basement, can be home to a growing population over the winter if you don’t use any pest control treatments. During the spring, many of the pests may remain with a very large-scale infestation. Large infestations are more costly to eliminate and take longer to remove from a home. Pest control services in the winter also prevent spring infestations since it addresses any issues that could make you vulnerable during the warmer weather months. For instance, a pest control specialist will assess your property and make recommendations on eliminating entry points inside the house.

Carolina Pest Management professionals can help you with expert advice on how to safeguard your home from these cumbersome pests. We will give you preventative tactics that are easy, low-cost and specifically targeted to your home’s pest problems.

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...

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