Many pests die off or become dormant when temperatures drop, but that doesn’t mean homeowners can let their guards down. Freezing pipes aren’t the only things in your walls that might damage your home this winter. While it’s true that many pest populations decline in cold weather, several species escape the cold by overwintering in homes. While inside, they continue to feed and reproduce. Here’s a guide to common overwinter pests and the pest control tips tristate residents can use to prevent infestations this winter.
Common Wintertime Pests
Mice can enter homes through dime-sized holes and are adept climbers. Droppings, chew marks on food and packaging, and rub marks on walls, floors, and pipes are all signs of active mice.
These arachnids are helpful to a point, as they survive by hunting other household pests year-round. However, some species’ populations increase during cold months because they breed in fall before overwintering indoors.
If you can get past the smell, stinkbugs are harmless. They overwinter indoors only for warmth and shelter. Once settled, however, they release a pheromone that attracts more stinkbugs. Worse yet, the very warmth that attracted them makes them think spring has arrived, causing them to mate and multiply.
These pests feed on trees and are only interested in your home as a place to hibernate. Like stinkbugs, however, they become confused by warmth and become active while overwintering, staining upholstery and fabrics with their feces.
Winterproof Your Home Against Pests
Here are measures you can take to keep out even the smallest intruders.
Seal your house as much as possible. This keeps heat in and bugs out! Add weatherstrips or door-seal kits to doorframes, and use mortar or cement to patch foundation and masonry walls. Placing screens over chimneys and vents is an effective, yet often-overlooked, precaution.
Store food properly. Pests can survive and thrive on human food. Never leave open food out for them to find. Place food in tightly sealed containers and sweep as often as possible.
Wash and dry seasonal clothing. Before using blankets, coats, or other winter textiles that have been in storage, wash them with hot water. Once pests find a safe place in attic or basement storage, they can find a way into the main part of your home.
Wash your travel items and luggage when returning from trips. Whether you’re traveling to visit family or to escape the cold, pests can stowaway in your luggage when you return. Immediately wash all clothing and check luggage and bags for signs of pests.
Keep storage and clutter to a minimum. Rodents and insects can hide in leaf litter, garbage, storage boxes, and just about anywhere else they’ll fit. The cleaner and more decluttered the space, the fewer hiding places common pests will have.
Also, with the Holidays approaching, be sure to inspect indoor trees, wreaths, and other greenery for spider egg sacks and be observant while unpacking and placing decorations that have been in storage.
When all else fails, call the Masters at (877) 546-9575, or click here, to help keep your home full of holiday cheer, not pests! Our certified professionals can give you more tips on keeping your home pest-free and can implement prevention methods that will protect your home year-round.