There’s Snow Place Like Home

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What the Wintery Weather Means for Pests

 

Winter arrived with attitude this year. Snowstorms and cold snaps across the country have been causing travel delays, school closings and chilly commutes, but the weather could also be affecting homes, making it easier for household pests to find a way inside.

Cold weather pests including rats and raccoons can cause structural damage to walls and electrical wires as they search for food or a place to stay warm. Mice and cockroaches can carry diseases such as Hantavirus and Salmonella that can make family members sick. Keeping these pests outside is the best way to stay safe and healthy while spending the season indoors.

There are many precautions homeowners should take based on weather conditions specific to their area. And it’s important to note that Ice, snow and wind can all negatively affect homes, so homeowners should be sure to check vulnerable spots in the home such as doors and the roof for damage after harsh weather.

Snow

When the temperature drops and snow starts to accumulate, rodents including mice, rats and squirrels will be searching for warmth indoors. Rodents can squeeze through small cracks and crevices that might get overlooked, especially where pipes and wires enter the home. Once inside, they can cause structural and electrical damage and spread disease.

Ice

One issue to be on the lookout for is ice dams. They form on roofs and can prevent snow from melting. The moisture backup from ice dams can cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and drywall. This can attract a number of pests that love moisture such as carpenter ants.

Wind

Strong winds can cause damage to roofs shingles. Cracked areas in the roof and siding are perfect places for nuisance wildlife including raccoons and bats to gain access to the home. Periodically check the roof for missing shingles and be sure to fix damage right away.

Rain

Homeowners should check trouble spots for any leaks or areas of moisture caused by rain or melting snow. Pests such as termites are attracted to moisture and are often unseen as they build nests and grow their colonies inside homes. Be sure basements and attics are dry and clear of water damage after heavy rain to avoid pests making the damage worse.

Winter is a time to keep warm indoors, but you don’t want to be cuddling up with pests as well. If you suspect an infestation of any kind, be sure to contact a licensed pest professional. For more information on common winter invaders, check out this Winter Pests 101 article.