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The ultimate guide to pest-proofing your home this fall

Most people look forward to warm weather. Whether it’s soaking up the sun or having a backyard barbecue, when it’s warm outside, life is good. Unfortunately, pests feel the same, and as summer fades, they begin looking to find warm, cozy places to ride out the cooler months, such as your home.

The best way to prevent a pest problem in your home is to deny pests entry in the first place. Ehrlich compiled this Ultimate Guide To Pest-Proofing Your Home to provide you with common-sense tips you can use to keep pests where they belong – outdoors! 

When the weather gets cold, pests will search for ways to enter your home. However, to be successful at pest-proofing your home, you’ll need to understand what attracts insects and rodents. Pests are just like humans, they need food, water, and shelter in order to survive. By eliminating food sources and potential hiding spots, you eliminate the likelihood that these pests will make your home their home.

Use these tips to limit pest activity in your home.

Make sure your doors are sealed

Woman locking her garage door with remote

Sealing your doors to keep pests out is similar to locking a door to keep an intruder out. But, if you examine your doors, you will probably be surprised by the number of gaps that pests can squeeze through. To combat these gaps, a door sweep can be installed under the door to cover the gap between the threshold and the base of the door. In order to completely seal the door, you can add weather stripping around the door.

In addition to home doors, it is also very important that garage doors are sealed. Many pests are able to fit through small openings in garage doors, so placing a door seal under the garage door will eliminate this entry point.

While it is very important to seal the entrances to your house, seals will not be of much use if the door is kept open. If you or your children are particularly forgetful, consider installing an automatic door closer, an inexpensive solution for ensuring pests stay out.

Ensure your windows have screens

Screening on patio

During the warmer months, you may open your windows to welcome in the fresh air. Unluckily, during these months, flying and crawling insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, are abundant and ready to invade your home. To enjoy the fresh air without flying insects, it is crucial that you install screens on your windows and doors.

It is recommended that the screen size is a 20-by-20 or finer mesh to keep out even the smallest flying insects. In addition to adding window screens, making sure window screens do not fall into disrepair is extremely important. Rodents and even some smaller wildlife can break through screens and allow additional pests to enter your home. If the wires become broken, an easy fix is to add clear nail polish to seal the hole in the screen.

Maintain your yard

Gardening tools

Most of the pests that can potentially enter your home come from your yard, especially pests that multiply exponentially such as mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes breed in water, it is important that you eliminate any pooled or standing water. In addition, it is crucial that your rain gutters and downspouts are clear and working and free of any leaves or sticks so that the water is able to drain properly. 

Mowing your lawn, cutting down excess vegetation, and removing any yard waste is also an important step in eliminating an ideal environment for reproduction and habitation. Ticks and rodents thrive in conditions that are undisturbed like a yard that is not maintained or mowed.

Repair cracks on the exterior of your home

Cracks on the exterior of a home

Any size crack or hole on the outside of your home can provide an entrance for stink bugs, antsmice, and a host of other creepy crawlies. Begin by looking around your home very carefully and inspecting the exterior for any cracks in your foundation or siding that would allow pests entrance. Seal gaps, cracks, and crevices on the outside of your home. It is also important to replace any rotting siding or trim as these often wooden structural elements are extremely susceptible to termite and carpenter ant damage.

Cover openings on home


Having a fire in your fireplace is extremely nice, especially on a cold winter day, but what people do not realize is that chimneys are also a great gateway for pests of all kinds to enter your home. In order to cover the chimney vent, you can use a chimney cap to eliminate home invaders such as squirrels, raccoons, barn swallows, and other pests.

In addition to the chimney vents, some houses have crawl spaces that serve as havens for pests of all sorts. To block these crawl spaces and prevent pests from coming in, you should install wire mesh over the opening. Also, air conditioning units provide an excellent entry point into your home, so it is important that you remove them from your window when they are not in use.

A few other areas to consider are where utility lines run from the exterior of your home to the interior. Caulk or seal gaps around the wires to keep pests from entering.

Make sure food is for people only

Raccoon stealing food from garbage

Take away their creature comforts. It is important that you eliminate their favorite things: food, water, and shelter. If you are able to eliminate these critical elements for survival, they will most likely leave your home and go somewhere else where they can thrive.

Store food items in sealed containers. If you do spill any food or liquids, clean it up right away with something as simple as a mixture of water and vinegar and a paper towel. Ants and cockroaches are especially attracted to sticky, sweet drinks or food that has fallen under the fridge or stove.

One very important tip for pest-proofing – keep pet food stored properly so pests do not have access. Once your pet finishes eating, put their food and bowl away. Ants and cockroaches are also fond of pet food.

The importance of pest-proofing

Pests certainly are not something that you want in your home, so it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent their entry. Aside from their general annoyance, there are also several risks associated with pests, ranging from serious health concerns to costly repairs.

Termites and carpenter ants have the ability to cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home due to their desire for wood. In the United States, termites cause an estimated 5 billion dollars in property damage each year. 

Pests of all types are also carriers of disease-causing bacteria and parasites that can cause dangerous and harmful diseases among humans. Lyme disease, hantavirus, Salmonella and West Nile virus are spread through direct contact with mosquitoes, ticks, rodents, and cockroaches.

Top 10 fall pest prevention tips

Check out these at-a-glance pest prevention tips from our experts.

The tips you need to keep your home pest-free.

Ehrlich: your local pest control experts

Once pests infest an indoor space, it becomes a much harder task to eliminate them on your own. In these instances, we recommend contacting a professional pest control company like Ehrlich for assistance. Contact Ehrlich today to schedule a free pest inspection of your property.

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