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How to keep insects out of your home this winter.

December 15, 2014

Whether it’s raking leaves or putting up patio furniture, chances are you had to do at least some winter prep for your home this fall. But there’s one last winterization step everyone should be sure to take before relaxing indoors over the next few months – checking for overwintering pests.

Overwintering pests are insects that decide to look for shelter inside your home when the temperatures start to drop outside. With just a few easy steps, you can spot and stop the initial intruders before they turn into an infestation.

To begin with, there are a few types of insects that are especially known for overwintering in homes, including brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, millipedes, centipedes, boxelder bugs, and multi-colored Asian ladybugs. While these particular bugs might be courteous enough to remain outdoors during the warmer months, they look to your home for food and a warm place to hibernate all winter long.

Because most of these species don’t reproduce during the winter, they may not be highly active, and therefore visible, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. The best time to spot these insects around your home is actually in the summer months when they can be found warming themselves on the sunny side of exterior walls. That means that if you’ve had bugs hanging around on the outside of your home before, they may be trying to work their way inside now.

For example, boxelder bugs are one of the most common insects found hibernating inside of homes. The bugs are black with red accents and wings, about a half-inch long and usually choose cracks, the insides of walls, or attics for their winter quarters. Because of this they tend to remain well hidden, and sighting only one or two could still mean that hundreds more are tucked away inside of your home.

What all of this means for you is that even if you haven’t spotted any unwelcome insect guests so far, it’s still very worthwhile to take some precautionary steps now.

First, take a quick walk around the outside of your house to find any possible entry points for warmth-hungry bugs. These typically include tiny spaces and crevices around doors, windows, and outdoor light fixtures, which can be quickly and easily sealed up with caulking or silicon.

Next, take a moment to install or check screens on attic openings and vents that lead outside of your home. Screens should be a close mesh so small insects can't fit through and should be tight and secure the entire way around the vent or opening that they cover. Remember that many bugs can squeeze through an opening that’s only as tall as a quarter is thick. Getting up to inspect and fix high exterior vents near your roof may take a little extra time and effort, but it’s well worth avoiding an infestation, and paying for extermination later.

Finally, you can also hire a pest control professional to pretreat your home to keep insects from wanting to enter your home in the first place. During pretreatment, pest control technicians will also inspect for and seal up any insect entry points that you may have missed. Best of all, winter pretreatments are usually less expensive and more convenient than waiting to exterminate a full-on infestation in the spring.

So, make sure that you and your family will be the only ones enjoying the warmth of your house in the coming months by taking a few simple steps this week that will keep your home insect-proof all winter long.

Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We've been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.

Authored By: Eric Scherzinger

Quality ProNational Pest Management AssociationOPMABetter Business Bureau Angies List Super Service Award

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