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 Now is the time to go through them and get rid of any broken, worn out, or outdated decorations before you put the boxes away.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.
The holiday season is upon us with decorations, food, and traveling to see family and friends. While most of us are focused on our holiday preparations, we often lose focus on another important aspect of this time of year – pest prevention. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean pests aren’t a problem. The holidays provide many opportunities for spiders, ticks, ants, mice, bed bugs, and other pests to make their way indoors and take over your home.
One of the most common ways pests can get into your home during the holidays is on live Christmas trees, wreaths, and firewood. Ants, spiders, ticks, and other pests can hide deep in the branches of trees and in the crevices of wood. They can even lay their eggs in trees or garland which can hatch once you put them out in your home, potentially causing a major infestation.
Pests can also access your home in those boxes of decorations you drag out from the attic, basement, garage, or crawlspace. Mice and other pests love to get into those cardboard boxes during the off season. You may be in for a surprise when you open your decorations by finding a live pest, droppings, or even damage to your lights and ornaments. It is especially important to check the wiring of your lights to make sure pests haven’t chewed through them.
The holidays are also one of the busiest travel times of the year. Most of us will either travel to visit loved ones or have loved ones travel to visit us. While we’re usually excited to see everyone, we’re not so excited to deal with bed bugs which often hitch rides on the luggage of these travelers. We often see a spike in bed bug cases during the holiday season.
So what can you do to pest proof your home and make sure you don’t get any unwanted guests for the holidays?
- Carefully inspect all items before bringing them into your home including trees wreaths, garland, and other decorations. Make sure to check for insects, eggs, and nests and shake them to rouse any pests that might be hidden deep within.
- Unpack your decorations outside instead of in your living room. Inspect them thoroughly for any signs of pests, droppings, gnaw marks, or any other damage before bringing them inside.
- Store your holiday decorations in plastic containers with lids that seal tightly instead of cardboard containers or bags.
- Don’t put discarded trees or cut firewood near your home. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevate it if possible.
- Thoroughly check your luggage before you enter the place you are staying and ask your guests to do the same before they enter your home.
- Put your clothing in the dryer, if possible, for at least 20 minutes.
- Keep your bags closed when not in use and store them off the floor.
- If you suspect you have a pest problem this holiday season, contact a pest control professional who can provide you with an evaluation and treatment plan.
It’s the middle of December and you are cuddled up with your favorite book and a warm blanket. Unfortunately, this peaceful moment is interrupted by a buzzing sound followed by the sighting of a wasp! And while you might be thinking “This is odd! It’s winter!”, this occurrence is quite common.
As fall starts, paper wasps will start to die off. However, there are select females who will search for a safe place to overwinter. These safe places can be inside chimneys, behind the siding of your home, and around windows and door frames.
Since winter weather in the south is very unpredictable, bouncing from 20 degrees one week to 72 the next, that random warm weather can trigger the wasps to become active and search for exits to begin making nests; thus the cause of wasp sightings in the month of December. How can you prevent these wasps from overwintering?
Steps to Prevent Wasps Overwintering:
- Look to fill cracks and holes found around the foundation of your home.
- Invest in updating weather-stripping around windows and door frames.
- Inspect around the outside of your home: roof eaves, porch ceilings, and attic rafters
If you spot a wasp in your home, don’t hit the panic button. In the winter months, wasps tend to move slower than normal and your licensed pest control professional can remove the nests with ease.
While most of us look forward to the holidays that come with the onset of winter, many of us don’t look forward to the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures that also come along with it. Pests feel the same way we do about cold weather and have developed several different methods to survive these frigid temperatures. So where do pests go in the winter? As much as we’d like to believe they just disappear until spring, unfortunately this isn’t the case. Pests have developed 3 major ways to survive winter:
Migration is the seasonal movement from one region to another. Just like humans, pests want to go where it’s warmer when the weather gets cold. Some pests will move to southern regions to escape the cold and return to the northern areas when the weather starts to warm. One of the most well known examples of migration is the monarch butterfly.
Hibernation is a period of time spent in a dormant state in order to survive the unfavorable conditions of winter. Bears aren’t the only animals that hibernate during the winter! Ladybugs hibernate at high elevations. Wasps seek shelter in eaves and attics of houses or barns to hibernate. Many other pests hibernate in trees, leaf debris, under logs, and under rocks. Honeybees stay in hives during the winter and form clusters when the temperatures start to fall.
Overwintering is the process in which pests pass through or wait out the winter season in sites that provide protection from the cold winter temperatures. Ladybugs, box elders, and stinkbugs overwinter in secluded, sheltered places like your home. These pests tend to congregate in large numbers so if they overwinter in your home they could infest in large numbers. Pests like rodents, cockroaches, spiders and flies remain active during the winter in our homes. They move indoors in search of warmth and food. Spiders are relatively harmless but flies can contaminate food and surfaces. Rodents can not only contaminate your food and insulation but can also chew through wood causing structural damage and chew through wires putting your home at risk of fire and other issues.
Now that you know where pests go in the winter you can help get your home ready to prevent these overwintering pests from invading your space. If you suspect you have a winter pest problem contact a professional who can help identify the pests and help you develop a treatment and prevention plan.
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.