That scratching sound you hear in the next room this winter may not be coming from kids, housemates or the family pet. It could very well be a mini invasion of your home by rodents, squirrels and other unwanted pests. Each year pests seeking shelter and food infiltrate a whopping 21 million households. It’s cold outside and they run to the nearest shelter they can easily access. Your home is a likely target for hosting these wily critters.
Prevention Saves Money
It is far cheaper to take steps now to keep pests out than to spend money later trying to get rid of them. Hiring professionals to chase down critters or exterminate bugs during the winter is an expensive hassle. There are several simple things you can do to ward off a pest invasion.
Block Those Cracks and Holes
Inspect your home for cracks and any holes that provide pests with easy entrance into your home. These may be in or near an attic, basement, baseboards, cabinets, doorways or windows. Check the area around utility pipes because there are often hidden cracks. Seal up these holes and cracks with heavy-duty caulking or spackle. Fill larger holes with concrete.
Apply sealant and weather stripping around windows and doors.
Keep gutters free of debris. A bunch of old leaves make perfect rodent nests.
Pests love to raid areas that contain food. Roaches and rodents are really good at chewing through cardboard containers. Snack food wrappers are also easy targets. Place food items such as sugar, cereal, flour, nuts, pasta, sweets and breads into durable plastic or metal containers. Containers should be tightly sealed.
Pet food is another item that can be raided. Make sure it is stored in sturdy packaging or plastic containers. Pet food bowls should be in areas not exposed to the outside. Keep birdseed in a metal container with a tight seal. Mice and squirrels love snacking on the seeds whenever they have an opportunity.
Keep the Kitchen Clean
Wash dishes and clean crumbs and food off counters and tables after meal preparation.
Remove Indoor Clutter
Clear out clutter from the home. Pests can easily hide in areas filled with lots of clutter.
Protect the Chimney
It is easy to forget that the chimney provides a large opening to the outside when in use. You can easily prevent sneak invasions by placing a screen over all openings.
Bag and Remove Yard Trash
After cleaning the yard of leaves and debris, always place it into trash bags and dispose of it immediately. Rodents will use leaf piles as a nesting place.
Do an Inspection
Inspect areas where there is insulation installed for signs of rodent nests. Check wires for chew marks. Look for rodent droppings around cabinets and floorboards. Listen for the sounds of scurrying feet behind walls. These are all indicators that your home is being shared by furry critters.
Check for insect infestations by looking for dead bugs, eggs and droppings around floors and windows.
Derek is currently blogging for Fox Pest Control, a termite and pest prevention company located in Connecticut. He enjoys blogging about DIY pest control and home improvement.