I asked Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) about how to prepare for autumn in regard to pest control.
The leaves will soon be turning, temperatures will be dropping and the smell of fall will be in the air. As people prepare for the weather ahead, so do a number of household pests, namely rodents, spiders, ants, stink bugs and cockroaches. These pests know the best way to survive the fall and winter is to find an overwintering spot where they will have access to food and water – unfortunately, all too often, these safe havens are our homes.
As pest entry points are usually small and sometimes difficult to detect (for example, mice can slip through an opening the size of a dime), homeowners should perform seasonal maintenance checks in and around their homes to minimize the chances of a fall and winter pest invasion.
Some may dismiss these pests as merely a nuisance, but it’s important to note that they can trigger allergies, spread disease and contaminate food. Not to mention that rodents inside a structure can create fire hazards due to their incessant gnawing of electrical wires.
Before cold temperatures and snow send us all indoors (two and multi-legged types), NPMA offers the following fall pest-proofing tips to homeowners:
• Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair damaged screens.
• Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
• Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home, using caulk, steel wool or a combination of both. Also, pay attention to windows, doors, siding, behind chimneys and underneath the wood fascia for openings.
• Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
• Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
• Replace loose mortar and weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
• Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains that
provide the perfect breeding site for pests.
• Inspect items such as boxes, grocery bags and other packages brought into the home.
• Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery
trimmed and cut back from the house.
• If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.
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