By Melissa Hamel
As the weather gets cooler in New England, insects, rodents and other nuisance and damaging pests start to look for warm places to spend their winter. And as many homeowners can attest, sometimes these pests will find their way into homes or garages. Having carpenter ants, lady beetles, cluster flies and other annoying pests in your home can be a real problem, so it is a good idea to take preventative measures to keep these pests from entering your home in the first place.
There are many ways to “pest proof” your home, so before the weather gets too cold and winter sets in, consider these helpful tips to assist you in sealing your home up tight for the winter.
1. Seal any openings around your home
Utility openings where wiring or pipes come into the foundation or siding of your home are common entry points, as well as areas around gas meters, dryer vents and outdoor facets. Small openings as tiny as 1/16 of an inch or less will allow in spiders and other insects, and 1/4 inch openings are big enough to allow in mice. The larger the gap, the larger the pest that can enter your home. You can use caulk, expandable foam, copper mesh or even cement to seal up any of these areas.
2. Seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors
Use weather-stripping or silicone or acrylic latex caulk to seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors. Before you seal these areas, they should be cleaned and any caulk that has been previously installed should be removed to make sure the new caulk adheres well. If you have a garage that is attached to your house, you may want to fit the bottom of your garage doors with a rubber seal, which will both keep annoying pests out and keep heat in during the winter. Sliding glass doors can also be sealed along the bottom track with foam weather-stripping.
3. Examine window and door screens for rips and holes
If any rips or holes are found, they should either be mended or the screens should be replaced entirely. Large gaps in screens will allow in flies and other larger insects, but some insects are small enough to fit through window and door screens that are free from any tears, so keeping doors and windows closed is the best way to keep all insects out of your home
4. Install a chimney cap
If you have a chimney, installing a chimney cap can keep out birds, bats and other wildlife that may try to spend their winter inside your home. If you have attic vents, installing 1/4 inch wire mesh will keep bats, squirrels and rodents from infesting your attic and even getting inside the walls of your home.
5. Survey the conditions around your home
Is the exterior of your home inviting to pests? If you have a woodpile near the house or trees or shrubs nearby, you could be creating a welcoming environment for insects. It’s just a short leap for them to move from the nearest shrub to your front door, so keeping woodpiles, trees and shrubs away from the immediate areas around your home can help eliminate the insects that may be attracted to the inside of your home. The lighting you have at your front or backdoor can also be inviting to insects. Insects are not attracted to sodium vapor lighting, so this can be used to deter insects from the areas around your home as well.
If you use all of these tips, not only will you have a home that is safe from unwanted pests, but you will also improve the energy efficiency of your home, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If for some reason one of these prevention tips fails, or you already have an infestation of insects or rodents in your home, contacting a pest control professional is the best way to get rid of them. Pest control professionals have the tools and knowledge needed to completely get rid of any pest infestations.
Modern Pest Services’ HomeCare Green program can help manage pest infestations by utilizing custom treatments that will target your unique pest problem. They can protect your home and family from over 60 different pests, and will provide you with year round protection: a different treatment for each season. We also utilize Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and procedures to minimize the use of pesticides in our treatments which is better for your home, your family and for our environment.