Fall: that magical time when the leaves change color, the weather gets cool and all kinds of tiny animals decide that your house looks warm and they should go inside.
Some of these fall pests can cause major problems, especially if their presence goes unnoticed long enough for them to harm your family or home.
Termites and carpenter ants can chew through support beams, framing, and other wood in your house, causing damage that costs thousands of dollars to repair – if it can be repaired at all.
Termites cost Americans more than five billion dollars in damages annually, so it’s vital to detect and remove them early.
Rodents poop in your home, destroy your food, spread disease, and chew holes in your house and belongings. If the targets of their gnawing happen to include the wiring in your walls, they can cause costly problems with your electricity, phone, internet, and TV, and could even set your house on fire.
Cockroaches’ to-do list might include crawling through the sewer, scurrying in your garbage, and taking a stroll through your food, in that order.
Biting bugs like spiders, fleas, and ticks can envenomate or infect you and your family, sometimes without you knowing what the source of your sudden illness was.
Many of these pests can fit through holes the size of a dime or smaller, but there are still ways to keep them from getting into your house this autumn.
Here are 4 fall pest prevention tips to protect your family, home, and finances:
- Seal cracks and holes in your home.
Check your screens, foundation, and walls for cracks and holes that pests can use to get inside. Don’t overlook the small openings; spiders and other bugs can get through a hole just one-sixteenth of an inch wide, and a one-quarter inch gap will let mice into your building.
You can use caulk, expandable foam, cement or copper mesh to seal gaps you find in your walls and foundation, and patch or tie shut any holes in your screens.
- Check for gaps around your doors, windows and utility openings.
Even if the material of your house is sound, gaps between pieces of that material can still let unwanted visitors in.
Check for openings around the edges of your doors and windows, and around gas meters, dryer vents, outdoor faucets, and utility openings where wiring or pipes enter the foundation or siding of your home.
Don’t forget to include the bottoms of your garage doors in this inspection, especially if the garage is heated or attached to your house. If the lower edges of the door aren’t flush with the ground, you can fit them with a rubber seal to keep pests out and heat in.
Gaps around windows and doors can be sealed with weather stripping, or with silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Before doing this, make sure the surface you’re caulking is clear of dirt and any previous layers of caulk, so the new caulk will stick properly.
If your house is being invaded by a particularly tiny insect species, it’s worth noting that some small bugs can slip through the holes in even a perfectly intact screen. If your area has a high concentration of screen-defying insects, you might need to keep your doors and windows closed.
Mail slots and pet doors can also grant entry to creatures other than your pets, so it might be best to temporarily retire those features of your home until autumn is over and warmth-seeking pests have either found a different shelter or frozen.
- Seal off the higher parts of your home.
Flying pests aren’t limited to the ground floor. If you have a chimney with no cap, birds, bats and other wildlife might use that as an entry point.
Attic vents can also allow pests to enter your home. To prevent this, install wire mesh over the vents to keep squirrels, bats and rodents from getting into your attic and walls.
- Don’t create an inviting habitat for pests.
One of the basics of pest control is not attracting pests in the first place.
Woodpiles, trees, and shrubs near your house create a good hiding place for insects, which might spread to your home as the weather cools. To prevent this, keep the twenty-foot area around your building clear.
Another way to avoid attracting bugs is to refrain from using outdoor lights, especially around openings like your doors, or to use sodium vapor lights that are shielded from above and only shine straight down, which makes them less appealing to insects.
Some pest species, such as termites, are attracted to moist areas, and some invaders even need moisture to stay alive. Keeping spaces that could become damp, such as basements, garages, crawl spaces and attics well ventilated and dry will make them less inviting to infestations.
Dehumidifiers can help to dry out damp areas, and having a proper outdoor drainage system with clean and properly installed gutters will draw water away from your home, so you don’t get leaks or pools that could invite pests to live and breed in them.
And finally, one of the most effective ways to deter pests is to deny them access to one of their most basic needs: food. By cleaning up right after you eat, not leaving your pets’ food exposed, and keeping your garbage lid closed, you keep pests from identifying your home as a free restaurant.
These fall pest prevention tips don’t just stop pests – they save you money!
By sealing the cracks and gaps in your home, not only will you keep annoying and dangerous infestations out of your house, but it will take less power to cool or heat your home, which will reduce your utility bills.
These strategies also help to prevent structural damage. Water expands as it cools, so if there’s a lot of moisture in the soil around your house, that growing mass will push against the foundations in a phenomenon known as frost heave, creating and worsening cracks.
These fissures can expose your home to seepage that results in further water damage, toxic mold, and – you guessed it – a variety of vermin.
An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, so start putting these fall pest control measures in place as soon as you can!
What if it’s too late for prevention, and you need a cure?
If an infestation has already established itself in your house, or you think you might have an invasion in progress, it’s important to take action before they breed, damage your property, or get you sick.
To get fast and effective pest removal at an outstanding price, visit this page to get a free inspection and quote from our pest control experts today!