8 Common Winter Pests & DIY Tips to Keep Them Out

8 Common Winter Pests & DIY Tips to Keep Them Out

1. Mice and Rats

A rat standing on gray concrete floor
Mice and rats will seek shelter and warmth during the cold winter months. They can fit through very small openings so eliminating entry points is an effective way at preventing them from coming into your home. Eliminating food and water sources is also effective. Replace damaged roof tiles and fill any cracks in the roofing cement. Keep your attics and garages tidy and clutter free. Store your items in plastic containers versus cardboard. Install chimney caps to keep them from nesting inside your chimney. Cover your air vents with wire mesh. Store food in airtight containers and don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink. Empty your trash regularly and make sure trash can lids are secure. Don’t leave trash bags out in the open. Clean countertops, stoves, and behind the fridge regularly and sweep and vacuum often. Seal holes around pipes using caulk or expanding foam. Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the house and store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Don’t leave pet food out overnight and seal unused pet food in airtight containers. Replace weatherstripping on windows and doors.

2. Squirrels

A squirrel eating a nut
Squirrels like to frequent attics and chimneys to make their nests. Cover chimneys with chimney caps. Keep shrubbery trimmed away from the house and cut down overhanging limbs. Replace rotting wood and seal any entry points including where pipes and utilities come into the home and overhanging eaves.

3. Birds and Bats

A bat with outstretched wings on a white background
Birds and bats can and will come into your home through any opening in the exterior of the house. Chimneys should be sealed with chimney caps. Inspect the outside of your home for any openings and seal them with steel wool or foam rubber. Keep doors and windows shut as much as possible. Use screens if you must have your windows open and inspect the screens regularly for damage.

4. Cockroaches

A Cockroach on a white background
Cockroaches are attracted to moisture and excess water. They will also enter your home in search of food. Check your pipes regularly for leaks and repair quickly. Remove obstructions in pipes to prevent bursting and leaks. Seal around pipe entry points into the home. Clean your gutters. Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard and keep them off the floor. Store food (including pet food) in airtight containers. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wipe down countertops and sweep and vacuum regularly. Clean under sinks, in stoves, and behind appliances regularly. Empty the trash regularly.

5. Fleas

A close-up of a flea on someone's skin
Fleas will hitch a ride into your home on your pets. The first step in preventing fleas is to treat your animals with a flea preventative, whether through medicine or shampoos or both. Check your rugs, carpets, furniture, and pet bedding for signs of fleas. Wash your pet’s bedding and other items in hot water frequently. Vacuum regularly and be sure to empty the vacuum each time you use it. Keep your grass mowed and your shrubs trimmed as this gives fleas less room to hide. Fleas can come into your yard on wild animals so don’t leave pet food out overnight to tempt them to enter your yard. Seal entry points into the house or under porches to prevent them from hiding there, as well.

6. Bed Bugs

Close-up of a bed bug on a white surface
Bed bugs can come into your home in luggage (be vigilant about preventing bed bugs when traveling!) on furniture, bedding, boxes, and even clothing. Check luggage, furniture, bedding, etc. carefully before bringing it into your home. Use a mattress cover that encases the mattress and the box springs. Vacuum frequently. Wash and dry bedding on high heat regularly. Do the same with clothing after traveling.

7. Moths

A moth on a white surface
Moths are attracted to wool, fur, and upholstered furniture. Be sure to check your clothes regularly for signs of damage. Wash clothes and store them in sealed bags. Use moth balls. Vacuum and clean the insides of storage areas including wardrobes, closets, and drawers regularly.

8. Spiders

A hairy brown spider in the middle of a web
Spiders like to hide in areas of the home that are seldom used. Store seldom used items in sealed plastic containers. Seal cracks and holes in the exterior of your home to keep them from coming inside. Keep your outdoor lights off and use blinds or curtains to block the inside light. Spiders aren’t attracted to the lights but other insects are which the spiders feed on. This eliminates a food source for spiders. Keep shrubbery trimmed away from your home. Keep the grass mowed and remove debris from around your home. Sweep and vacuum regularly. Clear out as much clutter as possible. Vacuum spiders and spider webs.

8 Common Winter Pests & DIY Tips to Keep Them Out

8 Common Winter Pests & DIY Tips to Keep Them Out

1. Mice and Rats

A rat standing on gray concrete floor
Mice and rats will seek shelter and warmth during the cold winter months. They can fit through very small openings so eliminating entry points is an effective way at preventing them from coming into your home. Eliminating food and water sources is also effective. Replace damaged roof tiles and fill any cracks in the roofing cement. Keep your attics and garages tidy and clutter free. Store your items in plastic containers versus cardboard. Install chimney caps to keep them from nesting inside your chimney. Cover your air vents with wire mesh. Store food in airtight containers and don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink. Empty your trash regularly and make sure trash can lids are secure. Don’t leave trash bags out in the open. Clean countertops, stoves, and behind the fridge regularly and sweep and vacuum often. Seal holes around pipes using caulk or expanding foam. Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the house and store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Don’t leave pet food out overnight and seal unused pet food in airtight containers. Replace weatherstripping on windows and doors.

2. Squirrels

A squirrel eating a nut
Squirrels like to frequent attics and chimneys to make their nests. Cover chimneys with chimney caps. Keep shrubbery trimmed away from the house and cut down overhanging limbs. Replace rotting wood and seal any entry points including where pipes and utilities come into the home and overhanging eaves.

3. Birds and Bats

A bat with outstretched wings on a white background
Birds and bats can and will come into your home through any opening in the exterior of the house. Chimneys should be sealed with chimney caps. Inspect the outside of your home for any openings and seal them with steel wool or foam rubber. Keep doors and windows shut as much as possible. Use screens if you must have your windows open and inspect the screens regularly for damage.

4. Cockroaches

A Cockroach on a white background
Cockroaches are attracted to moisture and excess water. They will also enter your home in search of food. Check your pipes regularly for leaks and repair quickly. Remove obstructions in pipes to prevent bursting and leaks. Seal around pipe entry points into the home. Clean your gutters. Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard and keep them off the floor. Store food (including pet food) in airtight containers. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wipe down countertops and sweep and vacuum regularly. Clean under sinks, in stoves, and behind appliances regularly. Empty the trash regularly.

5. Fleas

A close-up of a flea on someone's skin
Fleas will hitch a ride into your home on your pets. The first step in preventing fleas is to treat your animals with a flea preventative, whether through medicine or shampoos or both. Check your rugs, carpets, furniture, and pet bedding for signs of fleas. Wash your pet’s bedding and other items in hot water frequently. Vacuum regularly and be sure to empty the vacuum each time you use it. Keep your grass mowed and your shrubs trimmed as this gives fleas less room to hide. Fleas can come into your yard on wild animals so don’t leave pet food out overnight to tempt them to enter your yard. Seal entry points into the house or under porches to prevent them from hiding there, as well.

6. Bed Bugs

Close-up of a bed bug on a white surface
Bed bugs can come into your home in luggage (be vigilant about preventing bed bugs when traveling!) on furniture, bedding, boxes, and even clothing. Check luggage, furniture, bedding, etc. carefully before bringing it into your home. Use a mattress cover that encases the mattress and the box springs. Vacuum frequently. Wash and dry bedding on high heat regularly. Do the same with clothing after traveling.

7. Moths

A moth on a white surface
Moths are attracted to wool, fur, and upholstered furniture. Be sure to check your clothes regularly for signs of damage. Wash clothes and store them in sealed bags. Use moth balls. Vacuum and clean the insides of storage areas including wardrobes, closets, and drawers regularly.

8. Spiders

A hairy brown spider in the middle of a web
Spiders like to hide in areas of the home that are seldom used. Store seldom used items in sealed plastic containers. Seal cracks and holes in the exterior of your home to keep them from coming inside. Keep your outdoor lights off and use blinds or curtains to block the inside light. Spiders aren’t attracted to the lights but other insects are which the spiders feed on. This eliminates a food source for spiders. Keep shrubbery trimmed away from your home. Keep the grass mowed and remove debris from around your home. Sweep and vacuum regularly. Clear out as much clutter as possible. Vacuum spiders and spider webs.

5 Common Misconceptions About Insects

At this stage in your life, you probably think you know quite a few facts about nature – the sun rises in the east, dolphins can communicate with each other, and bees gather honey from flowers. So, it may come as a surprise to you that you may have to reconsider what you know. Keep reading for some myth busting – Northwest style.

5 Common Misconceptions About Insects:

1. Bees get honey from flowers

When bees buzz through your garden, they gather nectar, a complex sugar, which they carry to the hive in a “honey stomach.” Once they deposit it into the hive, other bees break down the sugar and pack it into the cells of the honeycomb. Finally, they fan their wings over the honeycomb to evaporate water out of the nectar and the end result is honey!

2. All spiders make webs

Many people think that all spiders spin webs of silk to trap their prey. It is true that all spiders produce silk. On the contrary, hunting spiders, which include wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and trapdoor spiders among others, actually track down their prey instead of making webs.

 3. Insects aren’t animals

When most people think of animals, they often mean furry creatures such as dogs, cats and even more menacing lions, tigers and bears. Perhaps because of the unusual appearance of most insects, which have exoskeletons among distinctive features, people tend to assume these arthropods are of a different classification. Though they may not have skin or fur, insects are animals just like dogs, cats – and us!

 4. A cocoon and a chrysalis are the same

Growing up, we learned stories of homely worms turning into beautiful butterflies after emerging from their cocoon. Actually, the term chrysalis defines this transformation stage between larva and adult, otherwise known as a pupa. Only butterflies can come from a chrysalis. It is its cousin, the moth, that emerges from a cocoon made of silk.

5. Daddy longlegs are spiders

Daddy longlegs, also known as harvestmen, walk around on eight legs as all spiders do. However, not all eight-legged creatures are spiders. Spiders have two distinct, separated body parts, whereas the harvestmen have one. They also do not have silk or venom glands as spiders do.

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://insects.about.com/od/teachingaboutinsects/tp/15misconceptions.htm

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/exhibits/always-on-display/butterfly-rainforest/butterfly-qa

 

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