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When the cooler weather arrives, everyone starts spending more time indoors getting comfy and cozy for winter. But it’s not just your family that wants to settle down inside this time of year. As temperatures start to drop, pest and bugs start looking for their winter home. Don’t get stuck with a winter pest problem. Stop pests from setting up camp in your home this fall by following this important pest-fighting checklist.
Seal up any open spaces around your home. This includes the roof and attic, the crawl space and anywhere utilities enter or exit your home. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, so close them all, no matter how small.
Make sure to screen any openings like vents and chimneys with small mesh screening to keep rodents from passing through.
Caulk around windows and doors, replace old weather stripping and loose mortar to close out both rodents and bugs.
Repair and replace rotted roof shingles, soffits and fascia.
Make sure basements, attics and crawl spaces are well ventilated and kept dry. Bugs are looking for a damp and humid place to stay. Keep an eye out for silverfish, which, while harmless, are an indicator your home is too damp.
Block up cracks and crevices inside your home, particularly the area around your sink. Bugs look for dark, damp places to hide during the day, so close up these appealing spaces.
Keep your kitchen clean and food in airtight containers. Regularly empty the garbage. Keep counters clear. Pests are looking for a food source and if they don’t find any, they are more likely to move on.
Check your four-legged family members for any incoming pests hitching a ride. If you have pets that go outdoors, they can be a direct route for bugs looking to get inside.
Do not store firewood inside your home. Only bring in what you need as you need it. Keep firewood outdoors, at least 20 feet from your home and at least five inches off the ground. Some of the most destructive pests like termites and carpenter ants will make a comfortable home in cut firewood.
Keep trees and shrubs cut back from your house. Any branches or stems that reach out to your house essentially act as a bridge, connecting these pests directly to your home. Leave about a foot between your house and trees.
Don’t let outdoor debris stay up against your house. Be sure to regularly clean out areas where leaves may gather around the house.
Repel bugs and spiders with the right smells. There are many scents that are pleasant to people but deterrents for pests. Ants dislike mint, rue and tansy. Spiders dislike peppermint, citrus and eucalyptus. Whether with indoor plants, dried herbs or essential oils, keeping these smells inside your home and using these oils in your cleaning will help keep these bugs at bay.
Use strong-smelling plants in the gardens around your home. Plant rosemary, lemongrass and mint. Planting flowers that attract bug-chomping birds will also keep the pest down and lessen the chances of them entering your home.
Besides being a nuisance, rodents and pests in your home can cause serious and costly damage: eating through your home’s wood beams, chewing up insulation and biting through electrical cords and appliances. Pests also pose a health risk, contaminating food, stoves and countertops. It’s important to make sure you’ve used all the tools in your box in the fight against pests in your home. However, the most important step is to look for signs of pests and address them immediately. If you see these unwelcome guests, get them out with traps and bait before a few campers become a whole village in your family’s home.