‘Tis the season for shopping, trimming the Christmas tree and spending time with friends and family. While you’re making your lists and checking them twice, you might want to check off one very critical task — that is to pest-proof your home. There’s nothing worse than having unwanted furry guests scurrying around your well-laid dinner table. Winter is a prime time for pest invasion as insects and rodents seek shelter, food, and warmth. They discover gaps and other points of entry to set up shop in your well-insulated home. Following are proactive steps to strengthen your home’s vulnerable areas and prevent pests from making their way in.
Close off Access Points
Inspect the area around your home to find and close off any points of entry. Begin with your windows and doors, as they’re prime targets for intruders. Replace worn weather stripping and repair any soft spots in the wood to keep mice and rats from gnawing their way in. Patch tears in the screens, even those in the attic vents and chimney openings.
Gaps in your eaves provide an open invitation to bats and other critters. Close them up with galvanized steel or aluminum. Inspect your siding for damages and fill in gaps with caulk, steel wool or copper mesh. Complete work on the siding by sealing the edges with expanding foam.
Replace loose mortar around the foundation making sure to seal cracks around the basement pipes.
Pests thrive where there’s an abundance of moisture. Like humans, they can get by for long periods without food, but require a source of water for survival. If your dwelling has clogged gutters and leaky faucets, pests will find the water source and set up their homes during the winter.
Condensation around your windows and stagnant water in bird baths or crawl spaces also create the perfect environment for massive pest infestation.
Repair leaky faucets, check for drainage problems in your crawl spaces and inspect your basement and attic for signs of moisture. Keep your bathtubs and sinks as dry as possible when you go to bed at night, and seal open sources of liquid to keep pests out.
Pests are less likely to invade your home if you cut off the food sources. Keep your kitchen counter and floors clean and store all food in airtight containers. Wash and store pet food containers or keep them closed. Brush up on your garbage disposal techniques. Your trash represents a meal or two to hungry critters, so use tightly sealed metal containers as your first line of defense. You can also place a heavy brick on top of the can or spray the insides and the surrounding area with ammonia to discourage pests from entering your yard in the first place.
Check your Landscaping
Regular yard maintenance, even in winter, is another way to discourage pests from dwelling in and around your home. Set up your firewood pile at least fifteen feet away from your home, and inspect the wood for pests like termites before giving them a free ride into your living space.
Trim tree limbs that rest against your roof as these give rats, ants, and other pests easy access to your attic. Clean up leaves and brush around your home’s foundation, as they provide a convenient and cozy place for mice to live.
Pests, for the most part, enjoy living in the vast outdoors, until the cold winter weather drives them into your warm living space. A proactive and vigilant approach to pest control is one of the best ways to keep pests from invading your space.