Pests are on the move, and your home could be their target destination this fall. The fall season officially arrives this Friday, and that means cooler nights and an increased chance that pests – including rodents, cockroaches, and certain species of spiders – will try to gain access to a warmer spot where they can ride out the drop in temperatures and declining food sources.
These pests have life cycles longer than one year, which means that they need to find shelter during cooler months to survive. In addition to being a nuisance, the above-mentioned pests can pose health risks to people and cause damage to homes.
For example, when establishing their nests in walls, rodents can chew on electrical wires and drywall, and they are known to pass on such disease-causing pathogens as Salmonella and hantavirus.
Disgusting cockroaches can contaminate stored food and leave droppings around the home, and their exoskeletons discarded from molting can trigger allergic asthma, especially in children. Some spiders commonly found around homes, on the other hand, can be poisonous.
The Clark Man’s job is to protect you, your family, and your home from unwanted pests. Here are 10 pest-proofing tips that you and your family can follow to keep pests on the outside looking in this fall and winter:
- Screen attic vents and openings to chimneys, along with any other areas where homes may be open to the outdoors – like mail slots and pet doors.
- Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Pests are attracted to areas with moisture, which they need to survive. Using dehumidifiers in basements and garages can help keep these areas dry.
- Seal cracks and crevices on the outside of the home using caulk and steel wool. Pay close attention to points where utility pipes enter the structure. Mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime, and rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter.
- Keep kitchen counters clean, store food in airtight containers, and dispose of garbage regularly in sealed receptacles. Crumbs and a buildup of garbage are attractive to pests scrounging for food. It is recommended to clean up after each meal and to properly close garbage cans when they are stored in the home or garage.
- Replace weatherstripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows, as these are places that could allow pests access inside your home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and keep shrubbery well trimmed. Removing areas where pests can hide near your home can reduce the chance of them finding a way inside.
- Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens. Torn window screens and cracks under doors are an ideal entry point for household pests. When you open the window, you could be letting in more than just fresh air.
- Inspect items such as boxes of decorations, package deliveries, and grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Pests can find creative ways to get inside a home. Shake out or inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.
- Avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time. Pests don’t discriminate between human food and cat food. Pet dishes that have been left sitting out are enticing for all kinds of insects and rodents.
- Make sure there are no leaks in irrigation systems that will create excess moisture that might attract pests.
If you are having a problem with pests trying to gain access to your home, and need an exterminator, call or text the Clark Man at (800) WE-NEED-YOU or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.