Three Ways to Protect Against Pest Problems This Winter

The National Pest Management Association shares best practices for keeping pests outdoors

FAIRFAX, Va. (January 31, 2017)  This winter has been far from normal — from the record-breaking amount of snow down south to the catastrophic flooding in California — and there is still a long winter ahead of us. This type of tumultuous weather causes many pests to seek shelter and warmth, and unfortunately, homes serve as the perfect respite. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are three key issues to keep top of mind this winter to help keep pests out.

One such issue is ice dams, which form on roofs and prevent snow from melting. Clear them out before they become a problem. “The moisture backup from ice dams can cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and drywall, which can attract various moisture-loving pests such as carpenter ants,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Use a roof rake to dissipate potentially problematic accumulations of snow.”

Winter can also wreak havoc on pipes inside the home, and burst pipes can create significant damage and moisture problems that pests love. Homeowners are encouraged to shut off the valve to exterior faucets, usually located in basements or utility rooms, and to disconnect and drain garden hoses and bring reels indoors for the winter. “Frozen pipes inside the home can lead to leaks, which can also attract termites. Termite infestations can often go unseen as they build nests and grow their colonies inside homes,” noted Mannes.

And, keep an eye out for potential entry points. Many pests seek out exterior cracks for easy access inside homes, including mice and rats. Rodents easily squeeze through small cracks that might get overlooked, especially where utilities enter homes. And, they can cause electrical damage by chewing through wiring. “Use steel wool around openings and a silicone-based caulk on any cracks to avoid potential visitors,” added Mannes.

If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional. For more information on winter pests, visit


About the National Pest Management Association

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