Winter so often serves as a reprieve from the relentless summer heat, but while the mercury may fall, not every irritation disappears during the final months of the year. Consider pests, for instance. Many homeowners and business managers believe that they won’t have to deal with common house bugs in winter since they don’t see mosquitoes buzzing around during December. But did you know that winter remains an active time for many kinds of pests? PestWorld notes that cockroaches can survive below-freezing temperatures and that multiple kinds of rodents will invade over 20 million residences each and every winter. If you’re wondering if pest control is necessary in the winter, then look no further than those statistics.
In this post, we will provide winter pest control tips in the form of practical “dos” and “don’ts” so that your business or home won’t become a pest house during the cold months.
DO: Keep all foods sealed in containers.
While some pests will perish in winter, others will attempt to adapt. For instance, the Smithsonian notes, “To survive the cold of winter months, many insects replace their body water with a chemical called glycerol, which acts as an ‘antifreeze’ against the temperatures.” Another strategy some bugs employ is to enter a dialed-down metabolic state known as diapause. This is why you may sometimes encounter sluggishly moving insects when it’s cold or snowy outside. However, winter insects won’t stay that way if they encounter a ready source of nutrition.
Additionally, so-called pantry pests (e.g., meal moths, weevils, flour beetles) will remain a threat throughout the winter. Cardboard boxes and paper bags will do little to keep them out of your cereal and flour. Consider packing such items away in sealable, hard-plastic or glass containers.
DON’T: Stack firewood against your porch or house.
Believe it or not, one of the prime ways that pests infiltrate your home is through your woodpile. Stacked logs represent a source of shelter for insects and mammals alike. There’s nothing much you can do to keep them from squeezing into those small spaces. But you can ensure that they don’t slip into your property by placing the woodpile a significant distance from any structures.
DO: Replace worn weather-stripping around doors and windows.
Similarly, introducing physical barriers between pests and your property does a good job of eliminating problems before they begin. One of the most effective means of keeping insects and rodents out is to ensure that you have fresh weather stripping around your door frames as the temperature starts to fall, especially when it comes to insects. Similar best practices including ensuring that window screens don’t have holes in them, that no cracks in your building’s structure remain unsealed, and that you don’t leave your flue open when you don’t have a fire burning in the fireplace.
DON’T: Neglect the need for a lawn bug barrier to prevent the migration of pests indoors.
Physical barriers aren’t the only way to ensure that creepy crawlies stay out of your house or business. Proper treatments performed by an experienced, reliable pest control service prior to freezing can help ensure that you don’t end up with bugs skittering across your floors. Reach out to qualified professionals like Smithereen Pest Management services to learn more about how a lawn treatment can keep you from developing pest problems in the middle of winter. Remember that the best time of year for exterminators is before you have a full-fledged infestation on your hands.
DO: Clean out landscaping debris from the guttering.
It’s amazing the spaces that pests can crawl, scale, and squeeze into. Just consider the below video from PestWorld which shows how little space rodents need to gain access to your property. Spoiler warning: It’s as little as the size of a dime for mice and the size of a quarter for rats. But despite their amazing acrobatics, pests cannot access areas that they cannot physically reach. This is why basic home hygiene steps such as cleaning your gutters matters so much in preventing pests. The same holds true for trimming trees and pruning back foliage so that it doesn’t touch your home or office building, as does sealing up any external cracks or entrances to attics and crawl spaces.
DON’T: Allow high humidity in your home.
While high humidity is usually associated with summertime, homes and offices can sometimes grow quite humid during cold spells under certain conditions. Unfortunately, high humidity during winter typically means you’ll have to deal with more pests. During warm times, humidity draws mosquitoes and slugs, which won’t make appearances during winter. But rodents and cockroaches will definitely end up drawn to your home if there’s a lot of moisture in the inside air. Make sure that your clothes dryer is venting outside your house rather than inside and consider using a dehumidifier if things get too sticky. Having too much moisture around your house can also prove problematic if you’re not in the middle of a deep freeze, so make sure to divert any storm water away from your structure.
DO: Wipe down kitchen surfaces and dispose of ripe produce.
Even if you’ve put away all food into air-tight containers, don’t think that you’ve eliminated all of the potential nourishment sources for hungry winter pests. There’s an ongoing joke in the comedic animated FX show Archer about characters accidentally scattering crumbs about. When this happens, someone will screech, “Ants! Do you want them? Because that’s how you get them!” The reason the reoccurring line gets laughs is because of how true it is. Whether you’re dealing with bits of toast, scraps of meat, a scattering of sugar, or the remnants of Fido’s latest meal, your insignificant, barely noticed leftovers are a virtual feast for small insects and mammals.
Remember how we mentioned the phenomenon of diapause in our first section? Well, nothing brings pests out of that lethargic state quite like an infusion of food. This is why infestations can seemingly happen “out of the blue” during winter. As with most pest problems, the best way to manage this is to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.
DON’T: Attempt to treat a pest infestation without a pest control professional.
Despite best attempts, sometimes pests become a problem. There’s a reason why one ancient proverb says, “The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces.” That’s because insects and other irritants have been omnipresent since time immemorial — and they still largely are. And while there are lots of available home treatments that may do a good job in managing many sorts of unwanted creatures, it’s all too easy to let a small problem become a large, entrenched one, especially during the winter.
When you’re dealing with pests that have gotten a toehold in your property (during the winter or otherwise), reach out to Smithereen Pest Management Services. We have operated in the pest prevention field since 1888 and have a substantial presence throughout the Midwest. As a Green Shield Certified company, we pride ourselves on employing an integrated pest management approach. This internationally recognized pest-management method is recognized the world over for being tough on pests and easy on the environment. Contact us today!