While a warm, cozy home may be inviting to your holiday guests, it can be equally inviting to a number of pests. Rodents, spiders, roaches and other insects may parade their way into your home, looking for a dry, safe winter habitat. Not only can pests come with health risks, but they can also bring on a slew of destruction. Rodents are particularly savvy at chewing up wires, insulation and even woodwork.
Keeping rodents and insects out is possible with a number of preventive pest control measures, many of which you can do on your own before the critters make their way in.
Get Rid of Alluring Habitats
Pests are more likely to be drawn into your home if you happen to have alluring habitats surrounding it. Examine the areas around the exterior, identifying and then eliminating any potential habitats. Ideal pest habitats will provide:
- Spaces to hide, rest or breed
In addition to looking for full-fledged habitats, keep an eye out for smaller spots where pests could hide out from predators. Think small. Even a thin branch propped up against your house could give non-flying insects a gateway into your home’s structure.
Common areas to check out include:
- Downspouts and gutters: Built-up debris can provide an ideal habitat; clean it out
- Home perimeter: Debris, mulch or anything else around your home’s perimeter can serve as a potential habitat or gateway into the home. This includes rock piles, compost heaps, bricks, boards and mounds of leaves. Prune branches so they’re not touching the home’s exterior or hanging over the roof and gutters
- Firewood piles: Keep your firewood outside and in piles that are at least 20 feet away from your home’s exterior. The closer firewood is to your home, the greater the chances of pests eventually making their way into the house
- Trash cans: Trash can are stocked full of food sources. Make sure lids are firmly in place and cans are stashed away from the house
- Exterior lighting: Traditional white light bulbs can attract insects in droves. Replace them with yellow lights or sodium vapor lamps
Block off Entry Points
A major step in preventive pest control is blocking off any potential entryways pests can squeeze through to get into your home’s interior. Mice can fit through openings the size of a dime, by the way. All openings, large and small, should be sealed up or blocked off as completely as possible.
- Larger openings and holes can be blocked off by screens or steel wool. Pay special attention to areas such as the chimney, attic fans and holes around the exterior foundation
- Openings around mechanical elements that extend from the interior to exterior can be closed off with sealants. These include pipes for water and wood stoves, as well as cable and phone lines
- Cracks and crevices also deserve a good dose of sealants, caulk or concrete, depending on their location
- Openings around crawl spaces, doors and windows can be fortified with caulk, concrete or fresh weather stripping, again depending on the location
- Holes in window screens should be repaired, or screens replaced with storm windows for the winter season
- Vents in chimneys and attics should be checked to ensure they’re sealed up tight when not in use
Since moisture can lure pests, you want to inspect key areas around the home that are prone to it.
- Remote corners: Make sure the remote corners of your house stay dry, particularly in attics and basements.
- Eaves and fascia: Examine exterior woodwork to make sure it’s not damp or rotting. Replace if necessary.
- Downspouts: Downspouts directed toward your house can draw pests in your direction. Make sure they’re directed away from the home.
While these measures can help keep pests out of your cozy home, in certain cases the pests may have already made their way in. Solutions for pest control vary greatly, depending on the type of pests that have made your home their own. One of the most effective solutions is to call in a pest control professional, who can safely eliminating existing pests while preventing their return in the future.
And you still can’t go wrong by implementing these preventive pest control methods every holiday season to keep the pesky pests at bay. These measures help ensure pests don’t have a wide selection of their own outdoor living spaces or easy access into your own.