You’ve likely heard the phrase “if you’re cold, they’re cold” in relation to pets. Unfortunately, the same reasoning can also apply to pests that might see your home as a source of warmth and food during the winter months. Squirrels, mice, bugs and a number of other pests can find their way indoors if you aren’t careful. In some cases, it can get so bad that you need to call in an exterminator to take care of the problem.
It doesn’t necessarily have to get to that point, however. There are a few different ways that you can stop pest problems before they start as you get your home ready for winter.
Cover Your Trash
One easy way to cut back on pest issues is to make sure that trash cans and other receptacles are in good condition and covered. Old food and other garbage can be a big attractor for pests, and once they’ve accessed your trash can it usually isn’t a very big leap to your house.
Empty Your Feeders
Some people like to keep their bird feeders stocked over the winter to make sure that birds don’t starve during the cold winter months. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this idea, but it’s important to remember that birds aren’t the only creatures that are attracted to filled bird feeders. If the feeders are out in your yard and far away from your house then it might not cause an issue, but if you have feeders mounted near the house so you can see the birds then you may be inviting trouble. The same goes for hummingbird feeders or any other sources of food too near your home: Empty it out and clean it up if you don’t want it to attract pests.
Watch Your Scraps
Just like you need to watch food sources outside of the house, make sure you’re not leaving inviting sources of food out inside the house either. Whether it’s in a bin for compost or just scraps left on plates that haven’t been scraped off yet, if there’s food in the house then it could attract a number of uninvited guests.
Fill in the Gaps
Before the weather gets too bad, take the time to go around your house and try to identify any cracks, holes or other bits of damage that could let in unwanted pests. Make sure that your inspection covers the foundation, areas around windows, the garage, the gutters and the roof, as well as other features of your home that don’t typically get much attention through the year. Fill in holes with steel wool and make repairs as needed to close off those potential access points into your home.
Use Plastic Storage Containers
If you keep bags of cereal, dry pet food or similar dry goods out in the open in cardboard boxes or bags with clips, it might be time to upgrade to a tougher storage solution. Even though these items are technically put up, thin plastic bags and cardboard boxes don’t offer much of a defense against pests. Put these items in hard plastic storage containers instead. This can even go for boxed dry goods in your cabinets if you don’t access them often; get sealable plastic containers that will fit on the shelves and put dry goods in them – box and all.
Be Careful with Wood Piles
Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are popular during the winter, but if you aren’t careful, they can make your pest problems worse. Insects and other critters can burrow into wood piles, hitching a ride indoors when you bring in a few extra pieces for the fire. While some may get caught in the wood when you burn it, other pests can escape into the home before that log hits the flame. Be sure to rotate your wood piles frequently and inspect wood before bringing it into the house.