Winter Pest Control Tips

5 Ways to Winterize Your Home

The cold, blustery weather is on its way and with it comes seasonal pressures on your home and outdoor property.

Preparing your home for what is to come will allow you to enjoy all of the things winter offers, without having to worry about problems throughout the house. Be it pest-related or weather-related, home maintenance issues can turn the coming holiday season into a headache.

Start winterizing your home now, setting up lines of defense and prevention from possible pressures on your home.

Here are 5 ways to winterize and help keep your home pest free this season:

  1. Tighten: Tighten the house up in general, by searching along the perimeter for holes or gaps throughout your property. Go inside and look behind furniture, in the corners, and cabinets for any potential pest entryways. If you do find a hole or gap, be sure to use a protective sealant or caulk to ensure a strong line of defense against pests who may be searching for a comfortable place inside your home to overwinter. Also, check around windows and doors to make sure pests and drafts do not make it into your home.
  2. Wood and Leaf Piles: Winter often calls for a warm, cozy fire and some leaf raking. If you keep your wood or leaf piles on the property, be sure to maintain at least 20 feet between the piles and your home. These are warm, moist harborages for a slew of pests and the closer they are to your home, the more likely you are to experience a pest problem. In addition, don’t bring in the firewood until you are ready to burn it. Many insects are found in firewood and when you bring in the wood you might be bringing in pests along with it.
  3. Remove Clutter: Before the weather gets too frigid, be sure to go around your property and inside your home to remove clutter. Pests like spiders, rodents, and stink bugs will make themselves at home here if they aren’t taken care of in a timely manner.
  4. Moisture: Go through the house and check for leaks, specifically in bathrooms, attics, and basements. Water is just as essential to life for pests as it is for us humans. Accumulation of moisture will attract a variety of pests to your home while potentially causing a level of property damage to your home as well.
  5. Gutters: Leaves, moisture, and general muck are sure to have built up in your gutters after the fall months have passed. Be sure to clean these before it gets too cold outside. This will ensure that your home is more aesthetically pleasing and less susceptible to winter pest pressures.

General home maintenance is important to the overall quality of life for you and your family, and properly winterizing your home is an essential aspect of this.

Overall cleanliness throughout the house will improve your line of defense against pests, specifically rodents. Clean the counters, check for spills, and keep an eye out for these winter intruders.

When “Overwinter” Guests Overstay Their Welcome…

We’ve all experienced the houseguest who never seems to leave. Come winter, inconvenient guests come in all shapes, sizes, and species.

Insects and animals alike try to avoid the cold by seeking a nice warm place to settle down, also called “overwintering.” Your home is an exceptional place for these occasional invaders to bunk.

Overwintering 101

Hibernation is the most well-known form of overwintering, but not all pests pass their time snoozing. While some insects take the avian route and migrate to warmer places, other insects stay put when winter sets in.

Insects can overwinter at any stage of development, from larvae to adults, and their hibernation habits differ by species. Some feed and grow actively, some breed, and others lay low, awaiting warmer times.

Certain insects even produce glycerol, an antifreeze-like substance, to keep them from succumbing to the elements.

While you might not consider your attic, walls, or basement to be a comfortable place to rest, pests see them as five-star digs. And when breeding bugs infest, it can lead to more complicated problems down the line.

When it comes to preventing overwinter guests, common sense can go a long way:

  • Keep firewood piles away from the perimeter of your home.
  • Be on the lookout for any cracks, holes, or entrance points.
  • Seal windows and close up the space beneath doors.
  • Properly close garbage barrels so that trash stays in.
  • Don’t leave any food out…at all…ever.
  • Sweep up the garage. It’s the perfect place for pests to set up camp.

Birds, Raccoons, and Squirrels…Oh My!
When thinking about pest control, it’s common to focus on bugs, mice, and other small invaders.

When winter comes, however, pests can become a much bigger problem – literally. Just like smaller pests, large home invaders seek shelter, and your home may be just the place they’re looking for.

Big pests, big problems

Winter pests don’t always come in small packages, and birds, raccoons, and squirrels can quickly cause a lot of damage to the average home.

  • Birds: Beautiful from afar, birds are disease carriers, to the tune of 40 viruses and 60 parasites. Droppings can corrode metal and deface outdoor walls.
  • Squirrels: From your roof to your attic, squirrels can cause an amazing amount of damage in a short amount of time.
  • Raccoons: Raccoons are night owls. They’re also quite clever, able to open doors and latches. An uncapped chimney makes a dreamy den.

Rats and Mice:
Rodents tend to top the list of winter pest pressures, and they are incredibly crafty when it comes to finding their way inside.

As food sources diminish outdoors, rats and mice seek meals in pantries, kitchens, and storage areas…and they can cause quite a bit of damage if undetected.

From disease and bacteria associated with rodent droppings to home damage and gnawed wires, rodents are persistent when seeking a meal or nesting site.

Any crack or gap larger than a quarter of an inch is a potential rodent entry point, so the first order of business is to start sealing those areas off.

Your winter housekeeping routine also matters: crumbs and food stored in non-airtight containers can attract rodents from afar, with promises of an easy meal. It’s essential to keep refrigerators and dishwashers clean, too – odors from a messy refrigerator may seem to a mouse like the announcement for a buffet.

If you find yourself with a rodent problem, consult an expert, who can implement a rodent control solution specifically designed for your home.

Even More Ways to Prepare for Winter

If you feel as though your home is being infiltrated by pests in the coming months, your best bet is to call your local pest professional.

Enjoy the holidays and don’t let pests join in on you and your family’s winter fun.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (800) 768-6109