Prepare Your Home for Autumn and Winter Pests
The number of pests may decrease in autumn and winter, but it doesn't mean they've disappeared completely. As temperatures drop, insects, bugs, and others start to look for warm and cosy places to spend the winter months. Your home or business may seem like the perfect spot for them. To ensure they will not make themselves at home, it's essential to be pest-proof year-round.
Common pests during the cold seasons
Mice and rat infestations are most common in the autumn and winter. That is because they are looking for warm places to nest and breed. They can enter through tiny cracks and holes in walls, floors, and foundations. They can cause damage to your home and contaminate food, and spread diseases. To prevent them from entering, you must seal up cracks and gaps, keep food stored in airtight containers, and eliminate food and water sources.
Stink bugs are another common pest during the colder months. They typically enter homes to overwinter or hibernate for the season and can be found in large numbers in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. They can emit a foul odour when disturbed or squashed. Hence the name "stink bugs". Filling up the cracks around windows and doors is essential, as well as keeping outdoor lights to a minimum, as they are attracted to them.
Other usual pests include cockroaches, ladybugs, and boxelder bugs. These pests often enter homes for warmth and can hide in warm, dark areas such as basements, attics, and behind appliances. To ensure that such will not invade your home, you must cover entrances and holes, eliminate food and water sources, and vacuum or sweep frequently.
Why pests are dangerous for you
Pests can not only be a nuisance but can also pose a health and damage risk. Rodents can chew and gnaw their way through electric wires, increasing the risk of fire, and can carry diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches can also exacerbate symptoms of allergies or asthma. Moreover, pests can cause damage to the structure of a building and contaminate food sources. Taking preventative measures and addressing infestations as soon as they're discovered is important to minimise the risks.
How to pest-proof your home
Eliminating potential food and water sources is essential to keep pests away. Cleaning spills and crumbs, regularly throwing out the garbage and preventing puddles from forming in sinks, drains, and outside containers are great pest-control methods. Checking the building for cracks and gaps and sealing them up to prevent any entry points will show pests that they are not welcome at your home. Fly screens on doors and windows can also act as a barrier.
It is also important to maintain your property, especially in autumn. This includes covering attic vents and chimney openings with mesh. Keep the attic, basement, and crawl spaces clean and dry with good ventilation. Repair any loose mortar and keep firewood stores at least 20 meters from the house. In addition to all of this, keep your shrubs and trees trimmed and clean and repair your gutter system.
How to pest-proof your kitchen
Since the kitchen is one of the most popular places for pest gatherings, here are some tips on how to store food properly and keep your kitchen pest-free:
- Keep food in sealed containers: Use airtight containers to store dry goods such as flour, sugar, and cereal. This will keep pests such as ants, cockroaches, and mice from getting into the food.
- Use the refrigerator: Foods that need to be kept cold, such as meat, dairy products, and leftovers, should be stored in the refrigerator. This will help prevent spoilage and keep pests such as fruit flies away.
- Keep the kitchen clean: Regularly cleaning the kitchen and pantry, including wiping down counters and sweeping or vacuuming the floors, can help prevent pests from finding food scraps and crumbs to feed on.
- Use pesticides or traps: In severe infestations, pesticides or traps can help control pests. However, using other prevention and control methods is always recommended before resorting to pesticides.
- Keep food scraps in sealed containers: Any food scraps or compost should be kept in sealed containers and disposed of regularly to prevent attracting pests to the area.
- Use natural repellents: Some natural repellents, such as bay leaves, can be placed in pantry and kitchen areas to repel pests such as ants and cockroaches.
- Keep an eye on the pantry and kitchen: Regularly inspect the pantry and kitchen for signs of pests, such as droppings or gnaw marks, and take steps to address the issue if necessary.
If you've tried everything to keep pests at bay and still have problems, it may be time to call professional help. A pest control expert will have the right equipment and products to effectively eliminate pests from your property.
Some additional useful tips
Use weatherstripping and sealant to seal gaps and cracks
Weatherstripping is used to seal gaps around doors and windows to prevent drafts and keep pests out. It can be applied to the edges of doors and windows and is typically made of foam or rubber.
Sealant is a substance used to fill gaps and cracks in walls, floors, and around pipes and ductwork. It can be applied to the surface of a crack or gap with a caulk gun and is typically made of silicone or polyurethane.
Maintain and clean HVAC systems to prevent pests from entering
Regular maintenance of HVAC systems is crucial to keep them running efficiently and prevent pests from entering through ductwork. This includes cleaning or replacing filters, checking and cleaning ducts, and scheduling annual inspections with a professional.
Pests can enter the home through ductwork if there are gaps, cracks, or holes in the ducts. These can be caused by wear and tear or poor installation. Sealing and patching any holes or cracks in the ducts can prevent pests from entering.
Pests are part of our lives just like we are part of theirs. To ensure we encounter less, we need to take a few extra steps to pest-proof our homes. Making them as unattractive as possible to different pests so we can all live happily and safely. Doing a few house chores can do more than expected to help us prevent any infestations.