Why Is Pest Control Essential Even in Winters?

is pest control necessary in the winter

Your home can be quite the comfortable place in the wintertime. With the heat from the fireplace, furnace, or heating unit keeping the cold out, it is your shelter from the cold and wind of the winter.

Unfortunately, it is also a place that may attract plenty of unwanted guests as well. Not your family or neighbors, but insects, arachnids, and animals that look for shelter during these cold times.

Why are Pests Attracted to Your Home in Winter?

The warm temperatures inside your home are mostly the reason why so many pests will find their way inside in winters.

Some will do so to seek out food while others will find refuge from not only the cold, but also predators looking for them.

But many pests would never find their way inside if you didn’t leave openings for them to enter. Some of the more common entryways into your home include the following.

  • Gaps Under Doors
  • Dryer Vents
  • Cracks in the Foundation

These are the most common means of entry. But anyplace that pests can reach may provide an entrance to your home. Including any plants, bushes, or tree branches that come into contact with your house.

In addition, the presence of food inside the home also attracts pests. Trash cans without secure lids is another issue you should address as well.

But even so, it pays to know what type of pest is most likely to make their way into your home.

7 Pests that can Invade Your Home During the Winter Months

Of the many pests that may find their way into your home, there are seven that are the most problematic.

1- House Mice:

The most common of rodents found in the home, mice like to nest in safe, secure areas such as the ceiling, attic, or basement where it is dark.

This is because mice have many predators, so they safer the location, the more likely they are to nest and create more rodents.

Although rather innocuous, the typical mouse offers several issues that threaten the health and wellbeing of those living inside your home.

  • Salmonella
  • Tapeworms
  • Property Damage
  • Fires
  • Food Contamination & More 

Mice carry diseases as well which can be quite problematic if you or someone in your home comes into contact with them. However, there are ways you can minimize the intrusions of mice during the winter months.

Inspect: The first step is to inspect your home for any signs of mice. While you may never see one, they do leave behind droppings, gnaw marks, and bites from food that they have consumed.

Remove Clutter: Piles of boxes, trash, and other clutter needs to be removed from the home. Otherwise, you provide mice with a home that they can breed.

Seal All Entrances: Mice need little room to enter a home, sometimes a hole as small as a dime is enough.

Seal all holes and cracks outside the home using caulk or steel wool which is weather-resistant. Once sealed, they will have considerable difficulty entering your home.

You will need to conduct regular inspections to ensure that house mice are not present in your home.

Plus, keep mouse traps, poisons, and other deterrents handy to catch the mice just in case.

2- Norway Rats:

Larger than mice, Norway rats can be quite problematic. Just like mice they like nesting and breeding in debris and clutter.

Plus, they can gnaw through wood and plastic easier than mice which makes them harder to keep out. It does not help that they carry diseases such as cowpox virus, jaundice, and rat-bite fever to name a few.

  • Inspect: Regularly inspect your home for signs of any Norway rat infestation
  • Remove Moisture: This means eliminating moist areas in the basement and crawl spaces
  • Seal Openings: Since Norway rats are larger than mice, they can fit though holes about ½” in diameter. If you seal the openings for mice, it will also deter Norway rats.

3- German Cockroaches:

You may know them simply as cockroaches as German cockroaches are far and away the most common type.

For the most part, cockroaches are known to invade homes mostly for the food. And, they have adapted over the years to gear themselves to find homes in which they can live and reproduce.

You mostly see cockroaches in kitchens, bathrooms, and other sources of moisture. They present a real danger to the home in the form of spreading diseases and bacteria along with contaminating sources of food.

One lesser known issue is that they can make respiratory illnesses such as asthma even worse, especially in children.

  • Inspect: Kitchens, bathrooms, and where you keep the garbage should be priorities
  • Clean: Clean all counters and floors. Keep food off of them.
  • Vacuum: Sweep up all the dirt and debris
  • Garbage: Toss out all garbage regularly as cockroaches love to live in the cans and bags

Cockroaches are a threat the year-round, so inspect often.

4- Brown Recluse Spiders:

While most spiders are harmless, a few like the black widow for example carry poison which is dangerous.

However, it is the brown recluse spider that provokes the most fear because of its painful bite and long-lasting damage it can cause.

As with most spiders, they prefer to hide inside boxes, shoes, clothing, and window moldings. If they bite you, the venom will start to eat away at the skin which is quite painful, leaving behind a long-lasting scar.

  • Trim: Cut back branches from the house as this is the most common way that they enter
  • Plastic Containers: Remove open boxes and use plastic containers with lids to store items
  • Inspect Items: Seldom used items such as old shoes, gloves, and even baseball mitts are common places for the brown recluse to live

If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you get treated, the more the damage will be limited. 

5- Raccoons:

Raccoons are mostly found in the woods and they love to eat. Particularly garbage left out around your home.

During the winter, they can make their way into chimneys or through openings to find a home inside your home. Raccoons can make quite a mess, but they can also carry rabies which makes them quite dangerous if you are a bit.

  • Inspect: Look for any access points on the roof or high on your home that allows them to enter your attic.
  • Seal Trashcans: Be sure to seal up all garbage that is round your home.
  • Mesh Caps: Mesh over chimneys and entranceways that cannot be sealed such as vents offer protection against raccoons.

Keep in mind that raccoons are wily and determines, so inspect frequently to keep them away from your home.

6- Bed Bugs:

Unlike all the other pests on this list, there is only one way for bed bugs to make their way into your home, on a person or in their belongings.

Bed bugs are parasites that only live on blood, so they are relatively easy to prevent if you do the following.

  • Inspect: All bags and belongings after making a trip. Also, when someone else visits your home with their belongings.
  • Bedrooms: Bed bugs visit you in bed each night, but they spend their time away from beds near bed posts, under end tables, and the like. Inspect the area for red droppings.

If you suspect bed bugs, you will need to use special treatments to remove them. Standard poisons and pesticides tend not to work.

7- Termites:

Termites will visit you no matter the time of the year. This means you need to conduct regular inspections.

Because termites can enter through small holes in the foundation, they may go undetected for so long that they may cause thousands of dollars in damage.

If your home uses wood for structural support, then have a professional pest control expert do the inspections on an annual basis.

How to Keep Your Home Pest-Proof During the Winter Season

Now that you know what might enter, the next step is keeping them out.

Keep in mind that the spring, summer, and early fall months have plenty of flying insects to keep your busy. While in the winter the threat comes mostly from the ground.

While specific advice has been given for each of the seven most common pests to enter the home during the winter, here is some general advice that will help against all pests.

  • Inspect: Look for any openings into the home no matter the size
  • Seal Cracks and Holes: No matter the size of the opening, have it sealed
  • Remove Clutter: From both inside and outside the home. Keep firewood at least 20 feet away
  • Plastic Containers: Get rid of cardboard boxes. Use plastic containers with lids to seal them
  • Cover Vents w/Mesh: Chimneys, dryer vents, and the like should have strong mesh coverings
  • Door Sweeps: To cover openings below the door.

A little prevention can go a long way. Also, be sure to inspect regularly for any sign of pest intrusion.

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