Pests are a nuisance. Eek factor aside, when pests invade a home they can spread disease, contaminate foodstuffs, and cause allergic reactions. You might think there would be fewer creepy crawlies in the winter months, but just like us, when it gets cold outside, pests look for somewhere warm to take up residence. Here are some suggestions on how to pest proof your house this winter.
Common pests you might encounter.
Spiders, cockroaches, ants, mice, and rats are some common pests that invade homes during winter months. While many of us think that termites are only found in warmer climates or tropical environments, they can live happily in Canada, including throughout the lower mainland.
By the time you discover wood destroying insects like carpenter ants and termites in your home, it’s typically too late – the damage is already done. These kinds of insects invade first then work their way from the inside out.
Where to look for uninvited guests.
Pests such as spiders, cockroaches, ants, and termites are attracted to dark and humid or damp areas with a food source close by. They also like their privacy. Look for insects and rodents in places like:
- The attic
- Basements and crawl spaces
- Cupboards, closets, and storage containers
- Within walls (exterior and interior) that have large visible cracks or holes
- Behind the stove, fridge and other large appliances
- In the garage or outdoor storage shed
Signs pests are in the house.
Most pests that invade a home are small and can hide easily. We might not be able to see them, but we can see any droppings they might leave behind.
Another sign pests are in the house is noises of rats, mice, or raccoons moving around at night.
Look in the corners of your home, especially in areas that don’t get a lot of light, for spider webs.
If you notice damaged property such as cords that have been chewed through, teeth marks on furniture or baseboards, or holes with frayed edges in clothing not caused by normal wear and tear, your home is being invaded. When pests are the reason for noticeable property damage, it’s probably time to call a professional exterminator.
Guard against invaders.
Since many of these winter invaders can successfully hide in a house until they emerge in spring, prevention is the best medicine. Ways to prevent pests from entering your home include:
- Seal any holes and cracks on the exterior walls of your home
- Ensure areas around where pipes, vents, and utilities enter your house have no gaps
- Store boxes off the floor
- Keep storage areas organized and clutter-free, including cupboards and closets
- Remove clogs from drains; repair leaking pipes; reduce condensation in the basement – any situation that produces excess moisture should be eliminated
- Ensure the crawl space, attic, and/or basement is properly ventilated
- Don’t let recyclables pile up, especially compostable materials and paper/cardboard boxes
- Store foodstuffs such as rice and cereal in airtight containers, including pet food
- Repair damaged windows, window screens, and doors that don’t open properly
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace, store wood at least 6 meters (20 feet) from exterior walls