Summer Getaway Homes Vulnerable To Infestations

Many vacationers open their summer homes over Memorial Day weekend and they may find themselves crashing a party - a party of pests, which found refuge in their unoccupied home during the off-season. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises second-homeowners on signs of infestation and how to prevent this problem year-round.

"Homeowners may open up their mountain cabins or beach homes for the season to find ants in the kitchen, spiders in the bathroom, and small wildlife in chimneys and crawlspaces," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Leaving a home unoccupied for months at a time allows pests to find their way in through cracks, crevices, holes, vents and chimneys."

To protect vacation homes from potential infestations while the home is unoccupied, NPMA recommends the following tips:

  • Clean all kitchen areas thoroughly and free from clutter before your departure. Kitchen appliances should be cleaned thoroughly to remove food residue and crumbs. Dust shelves and be sure that foods such as cereal, flour, and dog food are stored in resealable containers.
  • Sweep and vacuum floors in the kitchen, under furniture, and around dining areas.
  • Keep garbage areas clean. Garbage should be stored in sealed containers and disposed of regularly and completely before leaving.
  • Seal cracks, crevices, and other gaps around doors and windows. Doors and windows should always be kept closed or well screened.
  • Check pipes around the house for leaks, cracks and gaps and seal any problems if necessary before closing your home for the season.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. If mold and mildew are present, it's a symptom of an excess moisture problem.
  • Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly. Insects have been known to come in on potted plants and in luggage.

"Second-homeowners that do find their getaway plagued by pests should contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the home immediately as a way to protect it from further infestations, " advises Henriksen. 

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