If you think you can let your guard down against pests this winter, think again. Winter is the time of year when many pests actively try to invade your home in search of food, warmth, and shelter. For instance, termites can swarm and reproduce until February. Mice and rats are know to overwinter in basements and attics, gnawing on everything from wooden posts to electrical cords. Bed bugs, stink bugs, beetles, ants, cockroaches, and spiders are all seeking refuge right about now.
So, you have to keep your guard up, and it starts with winterizing your home. If you have yet to take preventive measures, now is the time to do so to ward off a full-fledged pest invasion after the first of the year.
12 Steps to Winterizing Your Home Against Pests
- Seal cracks and holes on the exterior of your home. Remember, mice and rats can squeeze through a crack the width of a pencil.
- Check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
- Inspect wires, insulation, and walls for gnaw marks, which may be signs of a rodent infestation.
- Store boxes off the floor to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas. Mice and rats like to hide in clutter, so make sure there is none around.
- Keep food in air-tight containers. Rodents, cockroaches, and ants are looking for an easy meal. Remove their food source, and you’ve won half the battle.
- Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the home, which makes it more difficult for both rodents and termites to enter.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and five feet off the ground. Mice and rats can make their nests in wood piles and easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby. It also provides a barrier against termites.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture areas, including leaky pipes and clogged drains. Pay extra attention to your kitchen and bathrooms, as these are areas particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
- Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
- Screen vents to chimneys.
- Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
When Should You Call Us?
Eastern Virginia winters can be harsh enough without having to also worry about a pest infestation. For many homeowners, their first line of defense when they discover a rodent or bug invasion is the do-it-yourself approach, although that might not be the best idea. Why? In the winter time, if you spot a bug crawling across your kitchen floor, you probably already have an infestation, which requires professional treatment. If you need more reasons, here are three:
- Many pests – especially cockroaches – can quickly grow resistant to store-bought products.
- Most DIY products are designed to treat general problems – not problems related to a specific species of pest. Targeting pests with products not designed specifically for that pest can not only have a negative impact, but also even make your problem worse.
- If your DIY methods fail, your infestation is likely to worsen – and quickly.
While implementing the 12 steps above will help reduce the likelihood of a pest invasion this winter, if you do suspect you have a pest infestation, contact us immediately. We stand ready to tackle this winter with you with environmentally safe pest control solutions that work year-round.