Pests of every variety--rodents, flying insects, and all manner of creepy crawlies--invade our patios, gardens, ball games, and campsites. The warm temperatures come hand in hand with waves of renewed life, and not all of that life welcome.
Then, as the cold weather creeps in, so do these pests.
Here is a list of the more common household pests that many face with the onslaught of winter, and remedies to match. Most all pests come into your home for the same reasons (and by the same avenues) as other pests, so follow the tip for one critter, and you’ll show the others the same cold hospitality.
Mice and Rats
Furry and cute to some (as long as they are in a pet store) and vile to others, nobody wants their homes taken over by rodents.The stigma of a mouse infested home is enough to send most homeowners scurrying to eliminate these little pests.
Probably considered “Public Enemy Number One”, these arachnids and the scorpion cousins can cause even a grown man to run shrieking toward a can of bug spray or a rolled up newspaper. (It happens--they grow them big in the south.) On the one hand, few spiders in the United States can do us any actual harm. On the other hand, spiders.
Ah, the reviled cockroach. No other bug conjures up images of filth and decay faster. Whether it is the huge American cockroach, or it’s smaller (but far more infesting) German counterpart, these disgusting pests are welcome exactly nowhere.
Centipedes and Millipedes
Centipedes undulate along with more legs than any decent creature should ever need--which is unnerving to some and plenty frightening to others, especially when they crawl out of a shower drain. Coupled with the fact that some have a slightly venomous bite, and there’s plenty of reasons to keep them out of your home.
In some parts of the country, these invaders simply take over a home in the winter months. They usually find their way in from nearby colonies, and some, like the southeastern fire ant, can cause severe pain and serious allergic reactions to unsuspecting victims.
How to Keep Winter Pests Out of Your Home
The good news is that all of these unwanted guests are lured into your home for the same reasons, and they use the same areas of approach. The winter months have made your house a warm and inviting place to shack up for the winter; it’s your food and water sources, however, that are its main draw.
- Don’t play dirty.
With all of the excess during the holidays, it is easy to let some sugar or other simple carbohydrates slip through the cracks. This is a major attractant to household pests and should be cleaned up thoroughly if spilled and kept in airtight containers when not in use.
- Stop them in their tracks.
Carefully inspecting the exterior of your home and sealing all possible points of ingress will solve about 90% of your problems. Caulk crack in siding and along trim, windows, and doors. Inspect utility openings and dryer vents. This is especially true of the southern and western sides of your home, where bugs are already attracted to the warmth from the sun.
- Check EVERYWHERE for water.
Standing pools outside left when ice thaws, slow drips in bathrooms or under sinks, even a musty crawlspace or basement will provide enough moisture to sustain hundreds of insects. Get a dehumidifier.
- Be careful with your mulch.
Pulling back detritus, like old mulch, from your home’s perimeter goes a long way to keep pests at bay. Stacks of lumber, unused bales of straw or hay, even an old tire or playhouse can harbor pests. The closer they are to your home, the faster they’ll consider upgrading.
- Keep the home fires burning and the log pile somewhere else.
We all love a roaring fire on a cold winter night, but that pile of dried wood is a hotel for every kind of insect you can name. Keep it away from your house and only bring in the amount of firewood that you intend to burn immediately.
- Remember: Mice, spiders, and centipedes are all predatory.
Keep out the smallest of the bugs, and you’ll keep out the rest (and the worst) of them.
Try as we may, Mother Nature finds a way; even the most stalwart of homeowners will see a bug now and again. For these unforeseen pests, we recommend deterring pests with a preventive spray like FarmWorks Indoor/Outdoor Insect Concentrate. Easy to apply and long-lasting, a quick application can give you additional peace of mind all season long.