8 Tips to Keep Pests Out and Heat In This Winter
By Lisa Weidmaier, Training and Technical Services Manager, Western Pest Services
Along with shorter days and blustery weather, winter can also bring a change in pest pressures for multifamily properties. While many people think pest troubles are over by the time cold weather finally settles in, that’s not always the case.
Not all pests go dormant or take the avian route and migrate to warmer places. Some stay active throughout the winter months and can be a nuisance, a health threat, or even cause structural damage.
A few of the most prevalent winter invaders for multifamily properties include:
- Rodents: Rats and mice are the number one pest threat this time of year. They can sneak inside through smaller holes than you’d imagine—mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter.
- Stink Bugs, Asian Lady Beetles & Box Elder Bugs: These insects are more of a nuisance than anything else. They tend to gather — sometimes in high numbers — on the sides of buildings in fall where there’s sunlight. Then, as it gets colder, they try to get indoors to take shelter until spring.
- Squirrels: Most squirrels cozy up in leaf nests in hollowed-out trees, but some will come indoors if they can find a way. They can enter by chewing through wood or making small holes bigger.
Fortunately, there are preventive measures you can take to winterize your building and help prevent pests from disturbing your residents and damaging your property.
- Conduct routine inspections of building exteriors to look for holes, cracks, or gaps pests may use as access points.
- Seal any cracks or holes in your foundation with weather-resistant sealant. Cover large holes with steel wool.
- Install weather stripping and door sweeps and keep them in good condition.
- Repair damaged window screens.
- Remove bird feeders to eliminate easy access to food.
- Eliminate moisture sources such as clogged gutters. Leaves, moisture, and general muck are sure to have built up in your gutters after the fall months have passed. Clean them out before it gets too cold outside.
- Rake debris away from foundations.
- Cut back shrubbery at least 3 feet from the exterior of any buildings to eliminate harborage and access points.
You can tackle these steps yourself, but consider enlisting the help of a pest management professional. A skilled professional can spot entry points that an untrained eye may miss.
Lisa Weidmaier is a Training and Technical Services Manager for Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.