Autumn has officially arrived, with winter close behind. The change of season signals the need to maintain your home for two very good reasons.
One, to efficiently keep out the colder, wetter weather and two, to prevent common autumn pests.
Both these reasons make good financial sense, too.
If you seal gaps and holes in your home, you will help conserve your heating and save on energy bills.
At the same time, you will also prevent the need to spend money on professional pest control to get rid of pests that have gained entry indoors.
In the northern hemisphere, wasps and flies will be reducing in numbers. At the same time though, the colder weather signifies increased risk of other common household pests like rats, mice and fleas.
Around the world, the seasons are different. While North America is psyched up for colder and darker days, countries like South Africa and Australia are preparing for a beach party (even if that is a bit of a cliche).
Common Autumn/Winter Pests
Pest hotspots in your home
Below is a list of common areas in your home vulnerable to pest problems. As well as explaining the reason it is at risk, we will offer advice on how to possibly prevent a problem before it happens.
Click any of the images in the list below to view them in full size!
Your attic offers a fantastic retreat for rodents like rats and mice to spend their winter. It gives them shelter and warmth, and places them fairly close to a food source – your kitchen. If you are really unlucky, you may also find wasps nesting in your attic too!
- Replace all damaged roof tiles
- Repair cracks with roofing cement
- Inspect roof space regularly for pest activity
- Keep attic tidy and clutter free
- Store items in plastic boxes (not cardboard) to prevent rodent nesting.
2. Pipes & Drains
With more rain than sunshine this time of year, it is also easier to spot any leaks in your gutters. Many times, this presents itself in the form of a waterfall gushing out of the gutter, probably while you’re trying to get to sleep.
Some insects like cockroaches are attracted to moisture and excess water. A badly maintained downpipe or guttering is very attractive in their eyes.
- Check downpipes regularly for leaks
- Repair any damage with gutter sealants
- Check that drains are free flowing and remove obstructions such as fallen leaves
Fashionistas might be preparing to swap their summer clothes for their cold weather collection. In other words, dragging winter wool sweaters from the back of the closet to the front and vice versa. This may also be the time you notice signs of a moth problem in the form of an unsightly hole in your treasured cashmere sweater. While this means you already have moths, it also means you can prevent further damage to other valuables in your collection.
- Check clothes regularly for signs of damage
- Use sticky traps or moth killer strips to confirm signs of activity
- Wash all clothes and store in sealed bags
- Vacuum and clean the inside of closets regularly
Another common problem in the bedroom is with bedbugs. This pest never goes away and is a problem all year round, peaking during and after holiday season. So, if you have been on a vacation recently or have invested in some second hand furniture it pays to check your room for any signs of bedbugs:
- Check all areas of your bed for signs (blood spots, droppings, shed skin)
- Inspect furniture and carpet
- Wash holiday clothes and bedding on a high temperature setting
- Clean and vacuum the bedroom thoroughly and regularly
If you live in a condo, apartment or a multifamily housing complex you can probably ignore and skip this part. However facilities managers and private home owners should take note. Birds, bats and squirrels like to make homes in chimneys.
The main risks are from damaged property, nuisance noise and potential secondary pest infestations.
- Install a suitably-sized chimney cap to keep animals out and prevent secondary pest infestations
Most people use their garage more for storing items like back issues of certain magazines, albums (LPs) and even furniture rather than their car. Be warned though, rodents love to find nesting sites among all your valuable junk.
- Cover air vents with galvanized mesh to prevent entry
- Store items in plastic containers and keep off the floor to prevent nesting sites
The kitchen is often the one room singled out by pest controllers as most at risk of a pest problem.
This usually comes down to the fact of how plentiful the food is in just this one room. As pests need food for survival, this is the area of your home they gravitate towards.
- Store food in air-tight containers
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink
- Regularly empty contents of garbage cans
- Clear food debris off the floor
- Regularly clean and inspect under sinks, cookers and behind the fridge
7. Laundry room
It is really easy to overlook gaps around new pipes and even old pipework and dismiss them as no major cause for concern.
However, young mice only need a gap the width of a pencil to gain entry inside- will this make you think more differently about those gaps?
- Seal holes around any old or new pipework
- Caulk, expanding foam and other DIY products are available to fill cracks
8. Garden & Outdoor Bins
If shrubs, grass, and trees are left unmanaged and overgrown they can provide great hiding spots, shelter and even an easy access route into your home. Black rats in particular are very good climbers (like ninjas).
- Keep branches and shrubbery trimmed away from the house
- Keep compost in a sealed area, a good distance away from the home
- Ensure outside garbage can lids are secure
- Do not leave garbage bags out in the open
9. Pet Food
Rodents are not fussy eaters. As well as being attracted to human food, their powerful strength of smell will also attract them to your pet’s food bowl.
- Remove pet food before night fall
- Store pet food in airtight, plastic containers
Cracks around windows, front doors, balcony and patio doors are easy to overlook. At this time of year, though, when the temperature outside drops you might think of it more as a nuisance because you will start to notice the draft in your hallway, or lounge.
It pays to cover these gaps from an energy saving and a pest prevention point of view.
- Install bristle strips under doors and replace worn weather strips on all windows
Worried you may already have a pest problem?
Call us on 1-800-837-5520 or contact us for advice and solutions on how to get rid of pests from your home.