As summer heat waves begin to relent, you’re probably busy preparing your family for a new season, gathering up back-to-school supplies, swapping out short sleeves and shorts for sweaters and jeans, and putting blankets onto beds. Don’t forget about preparing your home for an onslaught of pests as the weather begins to cool, too.
Just like humans, insects and rodents want to find a safe and protected place to spend the fall and winter months. That means taking advantage of the warmth and shelter offered by your home. Let’s look at some of the key areas of your home pests may invade and steps you can take to prevent problems and keep your family safe.
Fall means extra time outside enjoying the cooler weather. Keep in mind that mosquitoes, ticks, and stinging pests are still very active, and rodents also begin seeking shelter.
- Reports of West Nile virus peak in late summer and early fall, according to the CDC. Wear an EPA-approved insect repellent and long sleeves and pants when outside.
- Consider a barrier treatment of your yard to keep mosquitoes away.
- Remove standing water from your yard, especially after heavy rains or storms.
- Avoid any visible wasp or hornet nests, warn children to keep away, and call a professional immediately.
- Keep your firewood as far away from your home as possible.
- Remove debris that could be a hiding place for rodents: old tires, equipment, toys.
Windows and doors
Plenty of fall pests can gain access to your home through small cracks, gaps, and holes around doors and windows: stink bugs, lady bugs, kudzu bugs, mosquitoes, and flies.
- Inspect around window and door frames for gaps and cracks while it is still warm. Seal any you find with caulk or silicone. Do not to seal if you’ve already seen large numbers of pests in your home, as you could end up sealing them into walls.
- Inspect screens for damage as you swap them out for storm windows. Repair any holes or replace damaged screens so you’re ready for next spring.
Pests in attic, chimney, and gutters
Don’t forget the top of your home! Your attic offers a prime hiding spot for a range of pests. Insects such as stink bugs, rodents, birds, and wildlife can find their way in and take up residence in this often undisturbed space. Your chimney and gutters can also attract pests.
Follow these steps to keep your attic, chimney and gutters pest free:
- Inspect along the roofline inside your attic for gaps, cracks, or missing insulation. Seal openings with rodent-proof materials and replace missing insulation.
- Items stored in the attic should be kept in rodent-proof containers.
- Install a chimney cap. Your Ehrlich Specialist can help you with this.
- Clean your gutters regularly. Gutters that become clogged with leaves and debris make a perfect spot for pests to settle in. Overflowing gutters can create moisture problems in the walls of your home or create saturated ground, both of which can cause other pest issues.
Much like attics, basements can serve as the perfect harborage for many pests because it is often used for storage and is relatively undisturbed.
- Spiders may hang out in corners in your basement. Although they’re often harmless, they can be disturbing. Use a vacuum to remove spiders and cobwebs.
- Keep any stored items in rodent-proof containers.
- If your basement is damp or humid, consider a dehumidifier to reduce pest-friendly conditions.
- If your washer, hot water heater, or other plumbing-reliant machinery is in the basement, check regularly for leaks and fix any that you find immediately.
Pantry, laundry room, mud room, and entryways
These areas are high-traffic areas that often serve multiple purposes – food storage, kids’ school and sports equipment storage, pet feeding area. They also allow plenty of potential pest entry opportunity and items for attraction.
- Be sure your dryer vent is properly covered outside to prevent rodent entry.
- Keep any pet food in sealed containers, and clean up pet food eating areas after pets have finished eating to keep a variety of insect pests from invading.
- Store dried foods, such as pasta, grains, and flour, in sealed containers.
- Moths in your pantry? You could have a stored product pest problem. Do a thorough clean out. Practice first in, first out rotation so that the oldest products get used first.
- Pay attention to notices that are sent home from school about bed bug or lice issues. Inspect children’s backpacks and coats regularly, and investigate if you notice your kids have unusual bites or are itching and scratching more than usual.
Garages often serve as an extension of people’s homes, offering quick entry into the house, storage, workshop space, and more. They also offer lots of opportunities for pests to get in.
- Be sure that your garage door closes fully and seals flush with the ground to prevent rodent and wildlife entry. If it does not, have it repaired.
- Keep garage doors and connecting doors to your home closed when not in use.
- Clear away clutter. Boxes, old equipment, and other clutter stacked in corners can provide harborage for rodents, spiders, and other pests.
If you are a pestfree365 customer, your Ehrlich Specialist will check your home for conditions that may be conducive to pests as part of your fall/winter service, making recommendations and performing work to keep your home protected.
It’s easy to look at this list and feel overwhelmed, but there’s no need to panic. Now is the time to start taking precautions to keep your home pest-free this fall. As you go about preparing your family for the fall season, be sure that you’re watching out for conditions that may allow pests to creep in. And remember, Ehrlich is just a phone call away if you need us!
Call 888-976-4649 or send us a message today!