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Wild Winter Weather Drives Pests Indoors
The National Pest Management Association offers tips for avoiding pests in winter weather conditions
FAIRFAX Va. - What's in store from Old Man Winter? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Old Farmer's Almanac, above average levels of precipitation will affect much of the United States in the coming months. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises homeowners to remain vigilant this winter for any signs of weather-related damage that could grant pests easy entry in to their homes.
"Pest infestations are an unpleasant side-effect of severe winter weather that many people don't think about until it's too late," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Rodents, bats, ants and termites can enter vulnerable homes where they threaten both property and health."
Depending on the winter weather scenario, there are precautions homeowners can take to prevent pests from taking advantaging of the corresponding home deficiencies:
- Extreme cold: During the winter season, it's estimated that rodents seek shelter in more than 21 million homes in the U.S., where they can spread disease and increase the potential risk for fires by damaging electrical wires. Frigid temperatures may cause pipes to freeze and burst, leading to damaged flooring and drywall that rodents can use to get indoors. Prevent burst pipes by keeping the thermostat set at 68 degrees or higher and let water drip from faucets served by exterior pipes.
- Snow and Ice: Keep on the lookout for ice dams which can damage walls, ceilings, insulation and drywall and also attract pests that love moisture such as termites and carpenter ants. Keeping gutters clear can help prevent ice dams, and leaky spots in the home could indicate that one has formed.
- Wind: Strong winds can damage roofs and siding, allowing points of entry for nuisance wildlife such as raccoons and bats. Periodically check for missing shingles and always deal with the damage immediately.
For more information on winter pests or to find a licensed pest professional, visit PestWorld.org.
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 PestWorld.org.