Keeping the Home Pest Free in Winter

When the holidays arrive, the last thing any host wants to deal with are unwanted guests - specifically household pests such as rodents, ants and spiders. The National Pest Management Association provides tips to homeowners for pest proofing their largest investment during the winter season.

"Pests adapt to the changing environment and seek refuge indoors during the colder months," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "During the winter rodents such as house mice become one of the most common invaders and can cause serious property damage in and around the home."

The house mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime making it easy to get into homes through cracks and crevices. Once inside the home, pests can cause major problems including tearing insulation, chewing electrical wires, contaminating food and leaving unpleasant odors. 

NPMA experts offer tips for winter pest proofing:

  • Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home.
  • Screen vents and openings to chimneys. Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • Repair fascia and sofits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Call a qualified pest control professional for additional advice and treatment if necessary.

"A pest professional will be able to assist homeowners with identifying problem areas and treating infestations," says Henriksen.

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