Prevent Pests from Using Home as a Source of Shelter

Follow this pest proofing advice to get through the end of winter

FAIRFAX, Va.- As people cozy up on their couches, comfortably shielded from any gloomy weather conditions outside, uninvited pests such as rats, mice and squirrels are looking for ways to make these desirable homes their refuge, too. To prevent these critters — which can carry an array of diseases and can also damage property — from moving in, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends taking a few steps necessary to pest-proof the home this time of year.

“With winter in the midst of its last hurrah, pests continue to search for shelter, and food and water sources,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “And, after a long season, our homes can be made more vulnerable from the elements. Roof-damaging ice dams caused by snowfall, cracks in foundations and ripped screens can all open up entryways, inviting pests inside and making our homes more susceptible to moisture.”

To ensure the comforts of home are only shared with desired company like family and friends, and not with common household pests, the NPMA offers the following advice:

  • Look for missing roof shingles, ripped window screens and cracks along the foundation, all of which are entry points for pests.
  • Seal cracks and holes, including openings for utilities and pipes.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundations and windows.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Clean out clogged gutters from fallen leaves and debris.
  • Vacuum around doors and windows. Frequent vacuuming can catch invaders like spiders, silverfish, earwigs and beetles.
  • Inspect garages and outbuildings for rodents or signs of a rodent infestation. Organize cluttered debris, boxes and random items along the walls where mice may hide or nest.

For more pest proofing advice, or to find a licensed pest control professional, visit

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit