'Tis the Season! 10 Tips to Have a Pest Free Winter

December 3, 2014

'Tis the season for list making. Of course, there is the naughty and nice list, the endless holiday shopping list and the "this year I will do it" New Year's resolution list. With so many lists to make, there's one that is particularly important this time of year, and that is the winter pest-proofing list.

1. Clean cabinets and food areas

Insects, roaches, and rodents are looking for warm environments with food in the winter. Don't feed the pests! Keep your cabinets and other food areas clean. Be sure to store all unrefrigerated food, including pet food, in sealed containers. Routinely look through food items that are in the back of your cabinets and not used often to make sure they stay pest free.

2. Replace screens

Torn or broken screens provide convenient entrances for pests. Check all of the window and door screens in your home. If you notice any tears, replace your screens as soon as possible.

3. Keep basements and crawl spaces dry

Are you hiding presents from your kids or spouse in a hidden crawl space or corner in your basement? You might find some company in those dark, damp places. Moist areas provide insects, rodents, and roaches with endless supplies of water. Keep your basement and crawl spaces dry by running a dehumidifier.

4. Cover chimneys

Santa Claus isn't the only one who may be entering your house through the chimney. Squirrels, bats, and raccoons can invade your attic via stack vents. Cover and seal all vents and chimney openings to keep pests out.

5. Replace thresholds

While you are hanging mistletoe over your thresholds, check to make sure they seal. Mice and other pests are sneaky and can squeeze under doors. Replace your thresholds for any doors if you notice a bit of space between the door and floor. Even tiny gaps can serve as entrances for pests.

6. Clean gutters

Gutters filled with debris and moisture provide ideal conditions for pests to breed and nest. Clean your gutters to keep pests out.

7. Store firewood away from the house

Do you love curling up in front of your fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter evening? It turns out, you aren't the only one keeping warm with firewood. Wood serves as a safe shelter for many roaches and insects during the winter. The moisture in the wood supplies ideal feeding grounds for many pests. Keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your house to help ensure insects stay out of your home. To avoid pests living in your firewood, store it off the ground, preferably at least 5 feet. If you are going to use firewood in your home, do not bring firewood indoors until you are ready to burn the wood.

8. Seal around pipes

Wherever pipes enter the home, pests can enter too. Mice can enter a gap as small as one-half inch. Seal areas around pipes and check for leaking or dripping pipes. Pests are looking for water, and leaky sinks are an excellent source.

9. Close Openings

It's getting cold, and the snow is already falling. You are bundling up and staying indoors as much as possible, but know you aren't the only one. Rodents and insects, too, are looking for warm shelter to survive through the winter. They can enter your home through gaps, cracks or crevices. Walk around your house and diligently check your foundation. Replace mortar in your brickwork when necessary and use caulk to fill in the spaces between your trim and siding.

10. Trim Shrubs and tree branches

While you are inside decorating your Christmas tree, take a look outside. Shrubs and tree branches serve as direct paths for pests to gutters, chimneys, roofs and windowsills. Trim your shrubs and bushes and cut tree branches away from your house.

It's a busy time of year filled with family and friends. Pest-proofing your house can be time-consuming. Preferred Pest Control is here to help! We can do the work for you so you can focus on your holiday shopping. Call Preferred Pest Control at 515-276-7277 or schedule an appointment online!