It’s that time of year again! 2018 is winding down and the time has come to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like most of us, saving more money and having less stress definitely make our list of resolutions. What we don’t often think of as a resolution is pest-proofing your home. In fact, pest-proofing can actually save you money and stress in the long run. Most pests are seasonal – spiders and rodents are common in the winter months while mosquitoes are prevalent in the warmer months. There are, however, steps you can take any time of year to prevent pests year-round. Check out these 8 tips to pest-proof your home this New Year’s.
Put The Decorations Away Properly
As the holiday season winds down, we’re now faced with the sometimes arduous task of taking down and putting away our holiday decorations. Now is the time to go through them and get rid of any broken, worn out, or outdated decorations before you put the boxes away. Store your decorations in plastic containers that seal tightly rather than cardboard. Store your containers off the floor if possible. Make sure to properly dispose of live trees, wreaths, garland, etc.
Keep The Kitchen Clean
Pests come into our home for 3 reasons: shelter, food, and water. Keeping your home, and especially your kitchen, clean can eliminate 2 of those reasons. Clean your kitchen after each meal, wiping up crumbs and spills immediately. Store food, including pet food, in air tight containers. Sweep, dust, and vacuum regularly. Dispose of your garbage regularly and use garbage cans with lids.
Seal The Gaps
Pests often only need a very tiny crack or gap to gain access to your home. Inspect all of the exterior walls of your home for cracks and gaps and seal them tightly with caulk. Be especially careful around the places where utilities and pipes come into the home. Use door sweeps on all your exterior doors to seal the gap between the floor and the door. Use screens on doors and windows and make sure they are in good repair.
Move Your Firewood
There are lots of pests that like to hang out in the woodpile, hitching rides into your home on the logs. Keep your firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevate it if possible. Make sure to brush it off before you bring it indoors.
Prevent Pests Outdoors Too
Pest-proofing isn’t just limited to the inside of your home. Pest-proofing the outside of your home is also critical. Get rid of any dead bushes and branches and rake up all the leaves from your yard. Clean your gutters or consider installing gutter guards to eliminate clogs and standing water. Trim your bushes and trees back so they aren’t touching the sides of your home.
Eliminate The Moisture
Many pests like cockroaches are attracted to water. Check your home for leaks, even those that don’t seem like a big deal like dripping faucets and loose fixtures. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to reduce moisture under your home.
You don’t have to wait for spring to spring clean! Check that resolution off your list a few months early. Start at the lowest level of your home and work your way up room by room. Clear the floors, dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, clean out closets and drawers and get rid of anything you don’t need.
Call A Pro
If this all seems to overwhelming or if you already have a pest problem in your home, call a professional pest control company. The pros can assess your home from top to bottom and identify any sources of pest problems and provide you with a thorough evaluation and set you up with a treatment and prevention plan.
No matter what season it is, pests will always be in search of 2 things: shelter and food. One place that provides both of these is your home! Pests are influenced by the seasons so their threats change as the weather changes. Different seasons bring different pests in varying stages of their life cycles. It is important to know seasonal pest patterns for your area to make the proper preparations for your home. What can you expect as each season changes throughout the year?
Winter is a time of hibernation and survival for pests. Colder weather triggers a need for most pests to find shelter; some seek shelter outdoors while others will seek shelter indoors. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects will seek out places in logs or in the eaves of your home. Ants will seek shelter in their nesting sites. Overwintering pests like cockroaches, spiders, and rodents will seek shelter indoors, sometimes in our homes. The key to prevention of winter pests is to prepare your home in the fall.
Spring is a time of awakening and mating for most pests. As the weather warms, pests will emerge from their winter shelters and increase their activity. Pests that hibernate over winter will awaken from their dormant states. The spring rains will drive ants from their nesting sites in search of higher ground. Spring also marks the beginning of swarming season for termites. Most pests will move outdoors in the spring in search of mates.
Summer brings the height of backyard pests that put a damper on our outdoor fun. While we tend to see fewer pests inside our homes, we do tend to see larger numbers of pests in our yards and other outdoor areas. Mosquitoes are especially active in the summer months because of the moisture from spring and summer rains. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects are also more active in the summer; their nests can often be found on our near our homes.
Fall is a time of preparation for most pests as they get ready for the harsh winter months. Common fall pests include ladybugs, box elders, and spiders. These pests will often invade your home at this time of the year in search of shelter for the coming months. Fall is a good time to prepare your home for those overwintering pests seeking shelter from the winter weather also, like cockroaches and rodents.
No matter the season, there are steps you can take to protect your home from pests year-round:
Keep your grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed away from the sides of your home.
Keep your yard clear of debris and standing water.
Store firewood away from the home and elevated off the ground.
Inspect the outside of your home for cracks and holes that pests can use as entry points and seal them.
Use weatherstripping around doors and windows and make sure screens are in good repair.
Keep food and pet food stored in airtight containers.
Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight.
Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
Repair any leaky faucets.
If these steps aren’t enough or if you already have a pest problem, call a pest control professional who can come and give your home a thorough inspection and help you with a treatment and prevention plan.
Just like the weather changes with each season, so do the pests that we see. Some pests prefer warmer weather and peak in spring and summer while other pests will surge in the winter as they come inside to get out of the cold. The ways that you prepare your home will depend on what time of year it is and what pests you are preparing for. We have provided you with a few of the most common pests for each season so you can be better prepared all year long.
Springtime brings about an increase in temperatures, the melting of ice, and the blooming of flowers. These warmer temperatures bring many pests out from their winter hiding places. As these animals emerge they will have one thing on their minds – food and water! Spring is also mating season for many species. Here are some common spring pests to look out for:
Ants: Ants forage for food in warmer weather. As the temperatures increase, ants will venture farther and farther from their colonies in search of food. This will eventually drive them into our homes. The heavy rains in spring also drive ants out of their colonies in search of higher ground.
Termites: Spring is the start of termite season as they leave their nests to mate and start new colonies. This is also known as “swarming.”
Mosquitoes: Heavy spring rains provide the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes will increase their activity in spring in preparation for their peak season which is summer.
Flies: Flies reach maturity at the beginning of spring. Once they mature, they will flock to areas that humans inhabit as they look for food. They prefer liquids and other sweet foods.
Spiders: Spiders become active in the spring as they search for food. The increase in insect activity as they wake from their winter slumber provides ample opportunities for spiders to feed.
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects include bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. These insects wake up from their dormant stage in the spring and they become more active. Spring is the start of their mating season as they seek to establish their nests and breed.
Bed Bugs: Although bed bugs are a year round problem, their populations can spike in springtime because of the increased travel for Easter and spring break from schools.
While we get somewhat of a break from pests in the summer months, there are a few species who peak during this hot season. Summer is typically the time in many pests’ life cycles where they are maturing and are less of a threat to humans. Here are some common summer pests:
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are the most common summer pest. The warmer temperatures allow mosquitoes to move through their life cycle faster which means they lay more eggs in the summer months. The summer rains also provide the ideal setting for mosquitoes to breed.
Stinging Insects: Stinging insects reach their highest populations in the summer. They will often build their nests in any openings in your house, under overhangs or in the ground near your foundation.
Ants: Ants continue to be a nuisance in the summer. As the rains continue through the season, ants will continue to seek shelter in higher ground. They will also continue to forage into our homes in search of food.
Flies: Flies are most active in the summer months. This is also their peak breeding season. Flies will spawn in animal waste, garbage, and rotting foods.
Termites: Termites are most productive in the summer. This is the season when they continue to consume wood while the queen continues to lay eggs and build their colonies.
Bed Bugs: Once again, bed bugs are year round pests. Many populations thrive in the summer months because of an increase in travel during summer break from school.
Fall brings about cooler temperatures. This is the time of year when pests start to prepare for the upcoming winter. Many pests will start to seek warmth and shelter inside our homes. Here are some common fall pests:
Cockroaches: Cockroaches are some of the most common fall pests. Cockroaches cannot survive in colder temperatures so fall is when we see them start to migrate indoors in search of shelter and warmth. Cockroaches are known to hide near pipes and drains. They can spread disease and exacerbate asthma.
Spiders: Spiders are also common in the fall for the same reasons as cockroaches. They will move indoors to avoid the harsh colder temperatures, as well as in search of food as many of the flying insect populations decline as the weather cools. Spiders also breed in the fall so activity will increase as males go in search of mates.
Rodents: Rodents are another common fall pest. Rodents will migrate indoors as the weather cools in search of warmth, shelter, food, and water. Rodents not only spread disease but will also chew through wood supports and electrical wires in your home.
Fleas: With rodents come fleas. Fleas flourish in warmer weather so as the weather cools, we see their populations indoors thrive. Fleas will hitchhike into your home on both your pets and any other wildlife that come into your home in the fall.
Stinkbugs: Stinkbugs become a nuisance in the fall. Stinkbugs are known for emitting an extremely foul odor when they feel threatened. Stinkbugs are also considered a serious threat to agriculture as they can cause significant damage to crops.
While many pests hibernate or become dormant over the winter, don’t relax just yet! There are still many pests that we see in larger numbers in the winter months as they make their way into our home to avoid the harsh cold weather. Here are some common winter pests:
Rodents: Rodents are the most common pests we see in the winter. Rats, mice, and squirrels will invade our homes in search of a warm place to stay and an ample supply of food and water.
Roaches: While most cockroach species die off in the winter, Oriental roaches and German roaches are still active during this time of year. They seek dark, damp areas which are prevalent in the wintertime.
Bed Bugs: Once again, bed bug populations are active year round but they often flourish during the winter months as these are some of the busiest travel times of the year.
As you can see, no two pests are alike and no two seasons are alike. In the same manner, one universal pest control method won’t work for different pests or for different seasons. It is important to know which pests thrive during which seasons so that you can better prepare your home year round to prevent an invasion. If you suspect that you have a pest problem in your home, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.