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.

German Roaches vs American Roaches: What’s the Difference?

German Roaches vs American Roaches: What’s the Difference?

Roaches can vary significantly in size and color (some even fly!), so it can be difficult to know what kind of cockroach you’re dealing with. Identification is the first step in roach control since the type of roach will determine the best treatment methods. Here are the 2 most common cockroaches you’ll see in your home and tips for getting rid of and preventing them:

German Cockroaches

German roaches are one of the most common pest nuisances in residential structures, especially common in multi-unit apartment homes. They thrive in filth but even the cleanest homes can be at risk.

A german cockroach on a white background

What do they look like?

  • Brown with 2 longitudinal stripes running down the thorax
  • 1/2 to 5/8 inches long

Where do they live?

  • German cockroaches will live anywhere humans build heated structures
  • Usually found in kitchens in secluded areas (behind and under appliances, in cracks and crevices behind backslashes, at counter edges, behind and under cabinets, in void areas around plumbing, backs of drawer wells)
  • Will infest warm areas around appliance motors such as refrigerators and dishwashers

What are the risks?

  • German cockroaches will invade your home and leave fecal matter and other debris in and around food and food preparation areas
  • Can enter homes when boxes or products are shipped moved from one location to another
  • Reproduces at a high rate, completing a life cycle in 30 to 45 days
  • Produces 30-48 eggs at a time
  • Difficult to get rid of once infested

How do you get rid of them?

  • German roaches are most commonly treated inside a home with baits, sprays, or an aerosol product (baits preferred)
  • Roaches disperse the bait back into their refuge sites when they ingest it
  • Most have a secondary and even a tertiary killing effect, meaning roaches that die in the harborage site from a bait are cannibalized by their fellows, causing additional mortality
  • Sprays are applied to surfaces that roaches crawl across or into harborage areas
  • Often mixed with insect growth regulators (IGR) will reduce or eliminate egg production and cause mortality in immature forms of the German cockroach
  • Aerosols are referred to as crach and crevice treatments; forces roaches out of their harborage sites with a product that excite their nervous system (flushing agent)
  • Then sprayed directly with a contact product
  • Residual aerosols may be applied into harborage areas and onto surfaces where roaches crawl in the same manner as sprays (commonly sold as over the counter remedies for homeowners, but typically has a short life span)
  • Professional pest control is recommended

American Cockroaches (Palmetto Bugs)

American roaches, also known as palmetto bugs or waterbugs, are large, sometimes fly, and usually only come indoors in search of warmth, food or water.

An American Cockroach with a gray background

What do they look like?

  • Reddish brown in color and have a yellowish margin on their body
  • 1.5 to 2 inches in length
  • Largest cockroach in the U.S.

Where do they live?

  • American cockroaches usually lives in dark, damp areas such as sewers, storm drains, steam tunnels, and outdoors in landscaping and tree holes
  • Prefer warm, dark, humid environments in homes such as wall voids, crawl spaces, basements, utility rooms, or attics
  • Typically feed on decaying organic matter and a variety of other foods

What are the risks?

  • Not commonly seen in homes
  • May move indoors during colder months seeking warmer temperatures and food through openings in the foundation

How do you get rid of them?

  • Granular baits in attics and crawl spaces
  • Dust in attic and crawl spaces
  • Perimeter spray treatments
  • Perimeter granular bait treatments
German Roaches vs American Roaches: What's the Difference?

German Roaches vs American Roaches: What's the Difference?

Roaches can vary significantly in size and color (some even fly!), so it can be difficult to know what kind of cockroach you’re dealing with. Identification is the first step in roach control since the type of roach will determine the best treatment methods. Here are the 2 most common cockroaches you’ll see in your home and tips for getting rid of and preventing them:

German Cockroaches

German roaches are one of the most common pest nuisances in residential structures, especially common in multi-unit apartment homes. They thrive in filth but even the cleanest homes can be at risk.
A german cockroach on a white background

What do they look like?

  • Brown with 2 longitudinal stripes running down the thorax
  • 1/2 to 5/8 inches long

Where do they live?

  • German cockroaches will live anywhere humans build heated structures
  • Usually found in kitchens in secluded areas (behind and under appliances, in cracks and crevices behind backslashes, at counter edges, behind and under cabinets, in void areas around plumbing, backs of drawer wells)
  • Will infest warm areas around appliance motors such as refrigerators and dishwashers

What are the risks?

  • German cockroaches will invade your home and leave fecal matter and other debris in and around food and food preparation areas
  • Can enter homes when boxes or products are shipped moved from one location to another
  • Reproduces at a high rate, completing a life cycle in 30 to 45 days
  • Produces 30-48 eggs at a time
  • Difficult to get rid of once infested

How do you get rid of them?

  • German roaches are most commonly treated inside a home with baits, sprays, or an aerosol product (baits preferred)
  • Roaches disperse the bait back into their refuge sites when they ingest it
  • Most have a secondary and even a tertiary killing effect, meaning roaches that die in the harborage site from a bait are cannibalized by their fellows, causing additional mortality
  • Sprays are applied to surfaces that roaches crawl across or into harborage areas
  • Often mixed with insect growth regulators (IGR) will reduce or eliminate egg production and cause mortality in immature forms of the German cockroach
  • Aerosols are referred to as crach and crevice treatments; forces roaches out of their harborage sites with a product that excite their nervous system (flushing agent)
  • Then sprayed directly with a contact product
  • Residual aerosols may be applied into harborage areas and onto surfaces where roaches crawl in the same manner as sprays (commonly sold as over the counter remedies for homeowners, but typically has a short life span)
  • Professional pest control is recommended

American Cockroaches (Palmetto Bugs)

American roaches, also known as palmetto bugs or waterbugs, are large, sometimes fly, and usually only come indoors in search of warmth, food or water.
An American Cockroach with a gray background

What do they look like?

  • Reddish brown in color and have a yellowish margin on their body
  • 1.5 to 2 inches in length
  • Largest cockroach in the U.S.

Where do they live?

  • American cockroaches usually lives in dark, damp areas such as sewers, storm drains, steam tunnels, and outdoors in landscaping and tree holes
  • Prefer warm, dark, humid environments in homes such as wall voids, crawl spaces, basements, utility rooms, or attics
  • Typically feed on decaying organic matter and a variety of other foods

What are the risks?

  • Not commonly seen in homes
  • May move indoors during colder months seeking warmer temperatures and food through openings in the foundation

How do you get rid of them?

  • Granular baits in attics and crawl spaces
  • Dust in attic and crawl spaces
  • Perimeter spray treatments
  • Perimeter granular bait treatments
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