There’s Snow Place Like HomeDr. Jim Fredericks
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.