As the warm weather winds down and winter settles in, most of us will breathe a sigh of relief that we survived another season of creepy crawlers. Don’t relax just yet! Just because the weather has turned colder doesn’t mean pests have hibernated for the winter. Many pests will make their way into your home in search of shelter, food, and warmth. Mice, cockroaches, and spiders can be found crawling underfoot in the wintertime. These overwintering pests aren’t just a nuisance to have in your home; they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Rodents are known to carry Salmonella and Hantavirus and can chew through cables and electrical wires, increasing the risk of fires. Some spiders like the brown recluse and the black widow have bites that can be a serious threat to humans. Cockroaches are known to trigger allergies and asthma. Winter brings ice, snow, and wind, causing enough stress on your home without the threat of pest infestations. So what can you do to reduce this stress and get rid of the last of these creepy crawlers? Check out these winter pest prevention tips to help you have a stress free winter.
- Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and holes. Seal them to keep pests from easily accessing your home.
- Replace any loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors. Repair or replace any damaged screens.
- Eliminate moisture by repairing leaky faucets and clearing clogged drains.
- Keep gutters clear of debris before the weather gets too cold. Consider installing gutter guards to eliminate the need to clean gutters.
- Keep attics, basements, and crawlspaces dry and well ventilated. Consider enclosing your crawlspace.
- Keep storage areas like basements, attics, and garages well organized. Use plastic storage containers rather than cardboard and store them off the floor.
- Screen your chimney vents.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from your home and elevate it off the ground.
- Keep food, including pet food, in airtight containers and clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Call a professional pest control company to provide you with a thorough home inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.
The Atlantic Hurricane season starts in June and runs through the end of November. The damage of Florence has been felt throughout the southeastern United States and preparations for more potential storms have begun. The rising water and downed trees force pests to seek out shelter, and that often means your home. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent pests from taking refuge in your home during hurricane season:
Invest in Gutter Protection
Take Steps before the Storm Hits
After the Storm
- Once the storm passes, if your area experiences widespread power outages, you may have the unfortunate luck of dealing with spoiled food. This can attract flies, rodents, and many other pests. Store trash of this nature as far away from the home as possible to cut down on infestations.
- Looking for any structural damage from water is key as termites will be attracted to the slowly rotting wood. Look to remove and replace any damage done.
- External damage to the home presents an entrance for wildlife to enter homes for shelter. Look to repairing any of these external issues as quickly as possible.
You and your family’s safety are the number one concern. Consider scheduling a home inspector to come out and look for any other issues you should address in and around your home. Once that’s done, call your local, licensed pest control professional to perform an inspection that could help keep your family safe from pests.
If you’ve been outside lately you’ve probably seen signs of spring – blooming flowers, pollen that aggravates our allergies, and lots of new insects buzzing around. Another thing that spring brings is swarms – of termites! Termites are present year round but their swarming season is during spring and early summer.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage to homeowners each year. Here in the Southeast, subterranean termites are the most common types and are particularly destructive. These insatiable eaters can damage not only wooden structures, but have even been known to cause damage to brick and concrete homes as well. Termites can invade your home through cracks and holes as small as 1/32 of an inch!
Swarms are most common in spring and summer because they are triggered by warm, humid weather. Swarming marks the start of a new termite colony. Winged termites leave their nests when they become overcrowded and their isn’t enough food to sustain them. They then take flight and actually reproduce in mid-air. The females will then shed their wings and fall back to the ground. They then go in search of a new location to start their colonies.
Swarmers don’t usually cause any damage but once they establish their new colonies their offspring can cause significant damage – usually within 2 years. If you see flying termites it can signal one of two problems:
- There could be an existing termite problem nearby.
- Your home could potentially be at risk of a termite infestation when the swarm lands looking for a new place to colonize.
If you see winged termites inside your home this is a good indication that you already have an established termite colony inside or that there is existing damage already.
What can you do to prevent termites from coming into your home? Check out these tips to keep the termites out!
- Have regular inspections done by a termite control company.
- Do regular inspections of the outside of your home and the subfloor of your home checking for wood damage and the presence of mud tubes. (Mud tubes are pencil-sized tunnels located around termite nests, wood structures, and concrete or stone foundations.)
- Repair any damaged roof tiles, soffits, and fascia on your home.
- Keep mulch away from your foundation as this retains water and the moisture can attract termites.
- Keep your basements, attics, and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry. Consider enclosing your crawlspace completely.
- Make sure gutters are clear of debris and downspouts are working to make sure water is diverted away from your home. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.
As always, if you suspect you have termites or find signs of damage, contact a termite control company who can come in and do a thorough inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.