When the weather turns cold, the idea of being cozied up next to a warm fireplace is appealing to both humans and pests. Rodents, cockroaches and spiders are just some of the likely culprits that will look to make their way indoors uninvited when the temperatures drop. As we draw closer to winter, remember the importance of pest-proofing to keep pests out.
Every fall, pests and rodents go into survival mode and begin their search for a place to call home during the winter until they can go outdoors again. Unfortunately, our homes are often their top choice for a winter retreat as they provide a warm shelter and easy access to food and water.
Types of Fall Pests
Notorious for their “smelly” reputation, stink bugs frequently enter homes during the cooler months in search of a warm place to overwinter. While stink bugs do not pose a health or property risk to homeowners, this pest can quickly become an odoriferous nuisance around the home.
No matter the time of year, ants are constantly looking for food. Since ants hibernate during winter, the fall months are their last chance at storing enough food. Inside a home, ants are drawn to the kitchen, pantry and bathroom because they contain exactly what an ant is looking for—food and water.
As the weather cools, mice and rats begin to seek shelter for the winter months ahead. Walls, closets and pantries are all inviting hideout spaces. If you notice any gnawing on walls or door frames, search for possible intruders. Rodents carry numerous diseases and can cause damage to your home by chewing wires and insulation.
After working all summer to create nests, stinging insect populations are largest during the fall months. Due to their increased population, these larger nests will send out more foragers, increasing the chance of these pests annoying your family.
Additionally, natural food sources become less abundant as the weather gets colder, as flowers stop flowering and prey insect populations diminish. Many stinging insects also undergo a change in their dietary needs in the fall, switching from requiring proteins to requiring carbs. These factors cause stinging insects to seek out artificial food sources, leading them to become more of a nuisance around outdoor events like festivals and backyard picnics.
Use the following fall pest-proofing tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to minimize the threats that pests pose to health and home:
- Screen attic vents, openings to chimneys and any other areas that are open to the outdoors, like mail slots and animal doors.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Consider using a dehumidifier in these areas.
- Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
- Inspect boxes of decorations, package deliveries and grocery bags for pest damage before bringing them indoors.
- Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.
- Contact a licensed pest control professional if an infestation is suspected.
Additionally, keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear around the home. Pests will take any wall, door or window opening as an invitation to enter. Caulk and steel wool can work wonders to keep pests from finding a way into the home.
If your home is experiencing these, or any other pest issue, contact us for your free inspection.