Winter Pest Control: How to Keep the Warmth In and the Vermin Out
If you aren’t a fan of the cold, and you’d rather be inside during the winter months, you aren’t alone.
Spiders, stink bugs, cockroaches, mice, and rats all feel the same way, as do a variety of other pests, and they’d be happy to spend the winter in your house – and maybe even settle down permanently to raise a family or ten.
As anyone who’s had the misfortune of living with them will tell you, these animals make terrible – and in some cases, potentially deadly – houseguests.
Why winter pest control can be a matter of life or death:
Rodents can harm your family, home, and belongings in a variety of ways, such as nibbling and pooping on your food, spreading potentially fatal diseases like Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, chewing holes in your house and possessions, and gnawing on the wiring in your walls and appliances.
This wire-chewing can cause short circuits and other malfunctions in the affected machinery, and if rodents bite the insulation off of wires that are touching flammable materials, they can set your house on fire.
On top of creating urine and feces that are so hazardous that they shouldn’t even be handled without gloves and a respiratory mask, mice can also carry passengers like ticks, fleas, and lice into your home, and can worsen the symptoms of asthma and allergies.
Spiders can be a winter pest control problem
Rodents aren’t the only winter pests that can physically harm you. There are venomous spiders in Pittsburgh, and if you accidentally carry a spider’s egg sac into your house, the warmth can cause the eggs to think it’s spring and hatch, flooding your house with baby arachnids.
While most of these spiders aren’t a serious threat to the life of a healthy adult, some, like the black widow, can kill small children, as well as sick or elderly people.
Cockroaches, like mice, can trigger allergies and asthma, and they also carry diseases such as Salmonella food poisoning, staphylococcus, Escherichia coli (E. Coli), and streptococcus.
As you can see, it’s very important to protect your family and home from these would-be invaders! But how do you do it?
Here are 6 winter pest control tips:
With most pests, the best cure is prevention. If you already have an infestation, we’ll discuss that soon, but for now, here’s how to keep unwanted guests out of your house:
Seal cracks in your walls and foundations, as well as any gaps around your windows and doors.
Caulking gaps and installing weather stripping will help to keep small pests out, and it will also reduce your heating bill by preventing the heat from leaking out of your house.
If you can’t completely plug a hole because it’s a vent that shouldn’t be blocked, cover it with screen or steel wool so the air can get through but animals can’t.
Keep basements, crawl spaces and attics dry and ventilated.
Some pests rely on moisture in their environment, so keeping places where they’d normally hide dry will make those shelters less enticing to them.
Store firewood far from your home, and use it promptly after bringing it in.
Sometimes pests hide in firewood stacks and migrate into your home from there, so you don’t want to keep your firewood piled up directly against your house.
When you bring wood inside, burn it within 24 hours, in case there are any egg sacs hiding inside it and waiting to hatch.
Remove clutter that pests can eat or hide in.
Debris in your yard, such as dead or rotting wood and uncovered trash and recyclables, can attract pests that feed and breed in them, and those pests can then spread to your house. Store them as far from your house as possible, and keep your garbage and recycling in covered containers.
The same principle applies to clutter inside your home. Crumbs and food smears on your floor, counters and dirty dishes are an enticing food source for winter pests, so make sure the floors are swept and mopped regularly, the countertops are wiped each time they get dirty, and the dishes are washed promptly.
The garbage can and stored food can also attract and feed pests, so it’s best to keep both your food and your trash in sealed containers.
Deny pests their water sources.
Standing water is a breeding ground for species like mosquitoes, and it also provides a source of hydration for pests that don’t get enough water from their food, so it should be eliminated wherever possible.
If you notice a leaky pipe, that can also provide liquid for pests, as well as be causing water damage and raising your water bill, so it’s best to repair it as soon as you can.
Get professional help for existing infestations.
If you already have an infestation, it’s important to be careful how you manage it. Some species, such as cockroaches, can actually become hardier if pesticide is misapplied, creating a generation of pesticide-resistant pests.
An incomplete extermination can also drive pests out of their existing hideouts and into parts of the building they hadn’t previously invaded, thus spreading the problem even further.
While do-it-yourself methods will work for some minor infestations, if you have a severe pest problem, or you don’t have the time or budget required to thoroughly research the invading species and buy the equipment to eradicate it yourself before it causes major damage, the fastest and most economic option is to get the experts to do it for you.
Already got some unwanted guests? Let us get rid of them while you get on with your life!
Call us today at (724) 601-3223, or email us here to arrange a time for us to give you a free inspection and quote.