Winter Pest Control Tips
By Kristin Masters
Just as humans prefer to bundle up indoors, insects and rodents like to find warmth and shelter however they can. Often this means creeping inside well-insulated homes for the winter. Although many pests go dormant for the winter, proper pest control measures protect homes from exposure to insects and rodents. The key to winter pest control is prevention.
Prevent a Winter Insect Invasion
While many insects go dormant over the winter through a process called diapause, others migrate south or seek protective shelter. Thus ants, roaches, and other pests may become more common sights during colder weather. Some simple steps can keep these insects from making a home in your house:
- Seal off holes on the outside of the house, where insects may gain entry. Smaller holes can be patched with caulk or spackle, while larger ones may require concrete to fill.
- Check around baseboards and inside cabinets for cracks and crevices that could hide six-legged occupants, and fill holes accordingly.
- Remove sources of food and water, which include dishes in the sink and crumbs inside cabinets.
- Outside, much and firewood hold moisture, making them popular hiding places for roaches. Store these at least two feet from exterior walls.
- If insects continue to invade, consider using a natural pest repellant to deter their entry. In conjunction with a sonic pest controller, these repellants will significantly decrease the incidence of pests in the home.
- To humanely remove insects, use a pest vacuum to catch insects and place them outdoors unharmed.
- Outdoors, trim hedges and trees in close proximity to the house. The branches can provide an easy path to the house for insects.
Keep Rodents from Taking up Residence
Unlike insects, mice and other rodents are not capable of going dormant for the winter. While some mammals, such as raccoons, do hibernate during the winter, most simply seek a warmer shelter. Mice, rats, and squirrels actively work on building warm nests year round, often inside homes.
- To prevent squirrels and other animals from roosting in the eaves or attic, repair and patch any holes or other damage.
- Clean out gutters and overhangs, where rodents can also build their nests.
- Store yard waste like leaves and moss away from the house prior to disposal. These materials are popular nesting materials.
- Keep birdseed in a sealed metal container. Mice can gnaw through plastic and eat seeds.
- Common entry points are around pipes, where small cracks are frequently just large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Block holes with steel wool.
- In the house, eradicate clutter that can hide mice and rat nests and provide material for the nests themselves.