It’s easy to forget about pest control during the cooler months of the year when you don’t notice as much rodent or insect activity. While you may not see the critters very often, they’re still out there. Every year, 21 million homes in the United States suffer rodent invasions alone. Maintaining proper pest control during the winter minimizes the pest control tactics that you’ll have to take during the spring.
Both interior and exterior clutter offer numerous opportunities for insects and rodents to make nests in new places. Before you have holiday guests, sweep the outdoor property, cleaning up any stray toys, lawn equipment, and other seasonal items. Then clean up the inside of your house, particularly areas that are prone to moisture including the basement, attic, crawl space, bathrooms, and kitchen.
Store items in plastic sealed containers
Most rodents and insects have no problem chewing through cardboard boxes. You’ll spend more on plastic containers, but it will be worth it to eliminate pest issues. Plastic container storage also minimizes other potential issues, such as mold and mildew. Whenever possible, store plastic bins off of the floor.
Minimize entry into the home
Check for holes, cracks, and other unwanted openings on the outside of the home, including damaged window screens and areas where pipes and utilities enter the home. Keep in mind that a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Inspect the weather stripping and mortar around the windows and basement foundation, and make any necessary repairs. While the branches are bare of leaves, take out tree branches that offer easy access to the gutters, windowsills, chimney, or roof. Finally, cover stove pipes and chimneys with screens.
Moisture sites are a breeding ground for insects and rodents who rely on water for basic survival just as much as humans. Start by addressing any obvious moisture issues, such as clogged drains and leaking pipes. Then clean your gutters, getting rid of leaves and other debris that builds up during the spring, summer, and fall, creating an ideal shelter for pests.
Store firewood away from the home and off the ground
Firewood offers a natural home for pests. When the wood is stored away from the home, mice and ants are less likely to move from the pile into the house. Stack your firewood at least 20 feet away from your house and five feet off of the ground. You should also cover your firewood to keep it dry. Moist firewood is an optimal feeding and breeding ground for a variety of insects, including roaches. Wait to bring firewood into the home until you’re ready to burn it. These same guidelines also apply for leaf piles.
Inspect the property regularly for signs of pests
During the winter, look periodically for signs of pests both inside and outside your home including new scratches, holes, and marks of droppings. Check insulation, wires, and walls for indications of gnaw marks.
Even with the best pest prevention advice, you may still have the occasional pest problem. When a pest issue becomes too severe for you to tackle yourself or you aren’t sure how to handle a pest problem, hire a professional.