It’s official, fall is here. No, really. You may not be able to tell by the thermostat, but summer is over and you know what that means? Winter is coming.
Unfortunately, it could also mean pests are coming (into your home). Believe it or not, winter is prime time for a slew of pests and creepy crawlies to invite themselves into your house. These uninvited guests are coming into your home in an effort to find food and shelter during the lean and cold winter months. Let’s take a look at the common pests you may encounter this winter….
Our homes provide an ideal environment for roaches year round so it isn’t just the winter that you need to worry about them. Food such as dirty dishes, overflowing trash, and crumbs on counters as well as moisture such as from wet towels left on the floor is what attracts them to our homes in the first place.
Cockroaches can enter your home in a variety of ways. They can come in through cracks, pipes, and vents. However, they can also hitchhike their way in on boxes, shoes, bags, and second-hand items such as used appliances.
Roaches are nocturnal so you probably will not see a live cockroach until you have a pretty serious infestation; however, there are other signs such as:
- Dead roaches
- Egg casings
- A musty smell in your kitchen or bathroom
To prevent cockroaches this winter:
- Wipe your counters after every meal.
- Take out the trash on a regular basis.
- Keep food securely stored.
- Seal up cracks and crevices.
- Vacuum and sweep frequently.
If you believe you have a cockroach problem, it should be dealt with ASAP as they can contaminate food and spread diseases. For more information on roaches read:
- How cockroaches spread disease and what you can do about it.
- What brings cockroaches into your home?
As the weather begins to cool, you may start seeing these eight legged creepy crawlies in your home. They come in to find a warm place to wait out the winter. Fortunately, most of the spiders in the Ohio and Kentucky area are harmless… not that that makes them any less frightening! However, one poisonous spider you may encounter is the brown recluse.
Spiders can enter your home in a variety of ways including through cracks and crevices, in potted plants you’ve brought in for the winter, and in firewood.
Spiders, including the brown recluse, typically like to avoid humans and will make their home in low traffic areas such as attics and basements. You’ll find them hiding out in cardboard boxes, along window sills, up in the rafters, and in infrequently used items.
Tip: This means when you go to get out the Christmas decorations there’s a pretty good chance you’ll encounter a spider or two. Be prepared!
To prevent spiders this winter:
- Vacuum, sweep, and dust frequently.
- Keep trees, bushes, and other plants cut back from your home.
- Seal up cracks and crevices.
- Store items in plastic bins.
- Inspect items you are bringing into your home especially potted plants.
Here are some other tips for bringing your plants indoors.
Many homeowners believe that termites are only a problem during warmer months. While it is true that they are more active March through November, they are a problem year round. And boy are they a problem! Each year, subterranean termites cause approximately $5 billion in property damage.
Termites come into your home to feed. Unfortunately, they are pretty sneaky and can go undetected for long periods of time, especially subterranean termites. This type of termite lives underground, and builds its colony in the soil around your home before tunneling in.
Signs of a termite infestation include:
- Discarded wings
- Damaged wood
- Mud tubes (small tunnels constructed from mud)
- Hollow sounding wood
To prevent termites this winter:
- Keep wood (such as firewood) stacked away from your home.
- Keep soil away from your home’s siding.
- Remove debris such as old boxes and scrap lumber from your home.
You should also consider having your property inspected on a regular basis by a trained professional (like those at Scherzinger). These proactive inspections can help you catch the signs of a termite infestation early on.
For more information on termites read:
As the temperature drops, you may see strange looking creatures gathering on the exterior of your home. These are (probably) stinkbugs, and they’re looking for a place to overwinter. If they can, they’ll be glad to come on inside where the “weather” is even warmer!
Luckily, stinkbugs are not at all dangerous to humans or pets. However, that doesn’t mean they’re welcome in the house! They can be a startling discovery, and if you should be unfortunate enough to crush one, they can emit a pretty foul odor.
Stinkbugs can get into your home through:
- Holes in screens
- Cracks and crevices (such as around doors and windows)
You can prevent stinkbugs this winter by:
- Replacing or repairing screens.
- Closing up cracks and crevices using caulk, weatherstripping, etc.
- Not decorating with pumpkins this fall – stinkbugs love to snack on pumpkin juice so having pumpkins around your home is almost sure to attract them.
- Installing insect screens on vents.
Learn more about stinkbugs by reading Get Ready for a Stinkbug Invasion.
This concludes part 1 of the winter pest prevention tips. In Part 2, we’ll make a closer look at mice, bed bugs, and more!
Need help with any of these winter pests? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, 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 through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.