One noticeable change in the outdoors as winter approaches is the absence of flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and bees. We associate these pests with summer and fall, a nuisance to outdoor activities, and are thankful that the colder weather brings relief from their stings and bites. But a lack of flying pests does not mean a lack of all pests during the winter.
Whereas mosquitoes and bees were flying overhead in the summer, mice, cockroaches, and spiders could be crawling underfoot during the winter. These pests are seeking shelter from the cold, and unfortunately our warm homes seem cozy to them too. It is important to take preventative measures to keep pests out because they can cause more hazards than just cobwebs in the corner. Rodents are known to carry diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus, certain spiders can bite, causing serious side effects, and cockroaches can be a trigger for asthma and allergies.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has several tips that every homeowner can use to help prevent these winter pests from gaining access to the home.
Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home to help prevent rodents from getting inside. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Mice and ants can make their nests in wood piles and easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized, and store boxes off of the floor.
Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Extra attention should be paid to kitchens and bathrooms as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
Screen vents to chimneys. Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
Winter brings enough worry about home damage with wind, snow and frost. Following these tips will help reduce the likelihood of your home experiencing other seasonal problems due to pests. When winter pests are kept outdoors, your home becomes a healthier place to host holiday parties and spend time with family, and that is what the season should be all about.
If you suspect you have a pest infestation, contact a pest professional.