Pest Control in the Winter
The winter season is the most opportune time of the year for you to reevaluate the condition of the property you own. Technicians put most of their focus on the interior of a building, identifying new issues that you as a property owner were never previously aware of. Winter may be the coziest season of the year as you sit back, relax, and enjoy the cooler weather.
One common misconception that property owners have is the belief that pests will simply lie dormant or hibernate during the winter, leaving property owners alone. The truth is that pests will seek out a site they can call home for the winter and will make reservations before the weather becomes too frigid for them to handle. The reason why you don’t see many bugs in winter is that the cold weather negatively affects most of them due to them being cold-blooded.
The following pests are some that you may likely encounter during the winter season. Keep in mind that this depends on the climate area you reside in.
Rats and Mice
The prime definition of pests, rats and mice will escape cold temperatures at all costs by nesting high up in your home’s attic. They can also make nests in crawlspaces, wall voids, underneath appliances, or hide inside random piles of clutter. It only takes a small hole to be opened for rats and mice to gain access to your home. Mice can fit through dime-sized holes while rats can fit through quarter-sized holes.
Spiders tend to be a reoccurring problem throughout the year, and winter is no exception. The webs they make need to be removed and infested areas need to be thoroughly cleaned before property owners can access them again. Spiders tend to lurk in the dark, in areas so far out of the way that you can’t see them at first glance. Attics, sheds and garages are notorious for sheltering spiders because these are the areas that go untouched for periods of time and gather dust.
It is not unusual to see cockroaches setting up camp in either the kitchen or any of the bathrooms. In fact, they love the moisture that comes from these rooms. If you invest in paper products like cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags, there is a good chance you will pick up cockroaches along the way. Cockroaches can also be picked up via used furniture and appliances. Most migration involving cockroaches occurs through plumbing, electrical wires, or utility tunnels.
Ants are nowhere to be seen outdoors during the winter due to hibernation, but they can be seen indoors if they have successfully nested within the structure of your home. This includes taking up residence in wall voids, window sills, doors, and under any sinks. Ants view your home as a shelter that provides warmth for them so they can proceed to forage throughout your home for both food and moisture.
It isn’t enough for fruit flies to simply enter your home. They can fly in from the outside, but what is the more common reason for them entering is that you unknowingly carried them into your home. Fruit flies are tiny and will leave tiny eggs on fruit that are almost impossible to see. Any fruit brought into a home that has eggs on it is an open field for fruit flies to breed in.
Possibly the most unpredictable pests, bed bugs can have a negative impact on your living conditions, especially if you are a traveler from out of town. Bed bugs tend to appear in places where you would congregate with other people such as hotels, schools, homes, offices, planes, trains and automobiles. It is also possible for bed bugs to be seen in movie theaters and libraries. If you plan on visiting relatives, you may receive the unpleasant gift of bed bugs while staying over for the night.
Ticks, Fleas and Stink Bugs
One thing that ticks, fleas and stink bugs all have in common is that they thrive in warm climates. This is one big reason why you see them run rampant throughout the spring and summer seasons if left untreated. If they sense that your home is warm enough to keep them alive, they will try to claim your home and extend their lifespan in the winter. Ticks and fleas are especially dangerous if you have pets in your home as pets are viewed by these insects as live hosts. On the flip side, stink bugs are generally harmless, though they are annoying.
Preventing Overwintering Pests
It can be challenging to get rid of pests once they successfully set up shop in your home, so taking preventative measures before the winter season begins would be ideal.
Preferably you should start with the outside of your home and get rid of any gaping holes or spaces that will attract all sorts of pests. If you have firewood close to the house, you should move these materials further away. Piles of leaves that accumulate next to your house over the fall season should be raked and moved away. Debris that accumulates in your gutters make for obvious habitats for both bugs and rodents, so it is best to regularly clean out the gutters.
Preventing access to the inside of your home involves the act of caulking the smallest cracks and crevices that surround your foundation, windows, and pipes. Never assume that any space is too small for rodents and insects to crawl through, so when you see a crack that can possibly be sealed, go ahead and seal it.
Pest management technicians are professionally experienced in identifying and sealing points of entry for pests. Pesticides may be needed to create the protective barrier your home needs, depending on the severity of the situation. There are three components that break down pesticides, which are light, heat, and moisture. By placing this barrier of pesticides in the winter season, these three components won’t be as effective.
Treatments done to your home’s exterior tend to break down over a period of time. Applying treatment for pest control must be a continuous process because it will ensure a continuous barrier of protection against pests from penetrating. By having a protective barrier in place throughout the winter, your home will be better prepared when pests become more active in the spring.
You may hear about the term “overwintering” when referring to pests that invade your home. One definition of overwintering is to remain alive through the winter. There are many pests that fit the definition of overwintering.
Regular examinations of your home’s exterior must be performed throughout the year to help prevent pests from invading your property. Here are some additional tips and suggestions on how to perform adequate maintenance.
For starters, if you have any damaged screens on windows, vents or doors, immediately fix or replace them so that pests can’t walk right through them.
Proper ventilation must be maintained for areas such as attics, basements and crawlspaces because you don’t want an unnecessary buildup of excess moisture.
You may not think about this initially, but keep an eye on your chimney. Cap your chimney and make sure it has mesh siding so that pests won’t be able to sneak in.
If you have lots of clutter in either your attics or garages (or both areas), make sure you get rid of that clutter. At the very least, move that clutter to a different location such as a local community storage unit.
Water leaks in any part of your house is never a good thing if you want to keep pests away. Some pests thrive in moisture sites. For example, if you have a leak in a kitchen sink pipe, identify the severity of the damage in the pipe and fix the leak as soon as possible.
Monitor any trees that are close to your house. If there are any tree branches that can possibly touch the structure of the building, they must be trimmed back or completely cut down. This is done to prevent pests from gaining entry to the house.
Any food that you may have must either be sealed inside containers or placed inside the refrigerator. Keep the condition of your kitchen clean because this is the best place for pests to find their own food. Especially if you have perishable foods like fruits and vegetables, they need to be sealed and stored away.
If you own a pet such as a dog or a cat, make sure to regularly clean up after it. Pests are normally attracted to the smell of feces and will gravitate toward your home if all traces of feces are not removed from the ground.
If you have an abundance of firewood near one side of your home, it is best to get all that firewood moved out of the way. Certain pests such as termites will jump at the opportunity of exploring through the wooden parts of your home’s foundation if they have already infiltrated the firewood. Contrary to popular belief, termites can survive standard winter temperatures. In order to survive they can burrow deeper under wooden surfaces if they need to. Termites can also thrive in tunnels if they provide moisture. Any place that is warm, dark and full of moisture is the type of place termites will call home during the winter.
How Often Should You Perform Pest Control?
The main goal of pest control is to prevent bugs and rodents from entering your home. Pest control is a process that should be handled on a seasonal basis, and that includes the winter season. Performing regularly scheduled pest control lowers the risk of your home allowing pests to enter and create infestations.
Applying pest control treatments depends on the needs of your home. However, keep in mind that if infestations occur it will end up costing you much more money to clean out than if you were to perform regularly scheduled pest control. For both homes and real estate businesses winter is the most critical time of year for pest control to be performed.
Contact Us About Winter Pest Control
Even if you live in the state of Florida, a part of the United States that rarely ever sees snow in the winter, you will need to keep track of all your pest control measures throughout the year. If you need help with pest control for your home in the winter, feel free to contact us. As part of the real estate industry, it is our job to ensure that the properties we sell and safe and secure, free of any pest infestation.