Temperatures have dropped this week, and we’re not the only ones preparing for winter. This is a highly active time for pests who are seeking food, water, and some protection from the cold weather. Our partners at PestWorld have developed this fall checklist in coordination with the National Pest Management Association to keep pests outside during the fall and winter:for home and business owners to avoid an infestation of rats, mice, spiders, or insects… the most active fall pests that make the migration.
This week, we even found a black widow spider that had taken up shop in a customer’s garage. The female black widow is highly venomous and dangerous to humans and pets. You can’t miss these spiders, they have a bright red hourglass marking on their abdomen. They often build a web in between storage boxes or in the gaps of firewood where you can’t see them. A misfortunate reach in to grab a box, and you’re going to be heading to the hospital.
So, before the ice and freezing weather sets in, take a few hours and do your own little home inspection to find any spots where pests are going to hold up for the winter!
Pro Tip: Buy some heavy work gloves, a heavy hoodie, and put on some safety glasses while you do your home inspection. That way, as you move or inspect items around the house, you don’t accidentally get bit, touch pest droppings, or have anything drop into your eyes.
Whether you’re a business or a home-owner, here’s a great checklist. Mice only need a hole the size of a dime or a 1/4″ crack to squeeze into your home (rats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter), so be sure to pay close attention as you inspect!
Fall Pest Prevention Checklist
- Openings – Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, crawl spaces, and any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors, including mail slots and animal doors.
- Moisture – Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas of moisture, something they need to survive. Using dehumidifiers in basements and garages will help keep these areas dry.
- Cracks – Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to where utility pipes enter the structure. Some rodents can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Be sure to use a quality, outdoor, 25-year caulk.
- Food – Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Crumbs and a buildup of garbage are attractive to pests scrounging for food. It is recommended to clean up after each meal and to properly close garbage cans when they are stored in the home or garage.
- Foundation – Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows. These are easy ways to keep not only pests, but also cold air out of the house.
- Firewood – Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
- Screens – Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry point for household pests. When you open the window, you could be letting in more than just fresh air.
- Storage – Inspect items such as boxes of decorations, package deliveries, and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside a home. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.
- Pet Food – Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time. Pests don’t discriminate between people food and cat food. Pet dishes that have been left sitting out are enticing for all kinds of insects and rodents.
- Drainage – Have a proper outdoor drainage system. Installing gutters or repairing an existing system will help draw water and moisture away from your home, preventing any leaks or build up that might attract pests. Since it’s fall, you may want to get those gutters cleaned out!
You might notice that many of these items are good strategies for keeping your home energy efficient, too! Our friends over at Amos Exteriors have a great article on how to winterize your Indiana home – be sure to check that out for some great tips. They can also assist with ensuring your home is well-insulated as well as installing energy-efficient replacement windows and doors.
Note: If you find pet droppings or some webs, you may already have an unwanted guest. Give us a call and we’ll take care of it for you.
Freedom Pest Control are Members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members from around the world, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. This commitment is reflected both in the continuing education of pest management professionals and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners and businesses.