During the colder months, homeowners may be unaware that they are sharing their warm home with some unsuspected guests. When temperatures begin to fall, pests head inside every year because their food sources are less accessible and they cannot adapt to the cooler weather. Besides just being a nuisance, these household pests can trigger allergies and asthma attacks, spread diseases, transmit bacteria, and contaminate food. They can also affect your home by gnawing through electrical wires, creating fire hazards, and risking structural stability. Pests find ways into homes by hitching rides on the items brought in, such as firewood, packages, and your pets. They also gain entry through small cracks and crevices in the structure’s exterior.
There are many ways homeowners can prevent pests from entering their home. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers the following tips on pest-proofing the home:
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
- Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
- Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags, and other packages brought into the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery trimmed and cut back from the house.
- If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional (Bug Zero) to inspect and treat the pest problem.