Ants on the porch or insects in the garden are annoying but tolerable summer staples. With cooling weather, however, many pests go on a hunt for a nice, warm place to hunker down over the fall and winter.
Unfortunately, our homes beckon these critters. There are ways, however, to discourage them from taking up residence.
“Cockroaches can’t migrate during the colder months, so they need to find a warm hiding spot to survive,” according to Jack Andersen at CockroachZone.com. In your garden, they will hibernate under leaf piles, rocks and other areas.
The problem for these outdoor roaches is that they are unable to regulate their internal temperature. Many perish during periods when the air temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
Obviously, the warmth emanating from our homes acts as a beacon, drawing roaches inside.
How do they get in? Andersen offers up the following possibilities:
- Cracks in walls
- Pipes and drains
He recommends keeping the home clear of moisture, such as from leaks, since it’s “… one of the top attractants of cockroaches.” They’ll also be attracted by crumbs, food spills and grease on the stovetop, food in the pantry that isn’t securely closed and even dirty dishes left in the sink overnight.
Discourage these pests from taking up residence in the home by cleaning up any debris behind your appliances, such as the refrigerator and stove. Smaller appliances, such as the coffee maker, microwave oven and toaster may harbor crumbs and, thus, cockroaches. Clean the areas behind and beneath these appliances.
Finally, seal any cracks in the walls, around plumbing pipes and baseboards.
Mice are the rodents that you’ll most likely find in your home during fall and winter. Ridding your home of an infestation is important because they do so much damage. They’ll gnaw through paperwork, wires and even clothing.
Their saliva, urine and droppings can cause asthma attacks in sensitive individuals and children are their most likely bite victims.
In their mission to escape cold temperatures, mice can squeeze into incredibly small areas to gain access to your home. “Mice can fit through a crack or hole one-fourth of an inch or larger – or about the width of a pencil,” according to the pros at Terminix.com.
They also offer tips on how to dissuade these critters from making themselves at home:
- Store stacks of firewood well away from the home and up off the ground.
- Leaf piles are attractive to mice, so discard those that are near the home’s foundation.
- Remember the “one-fourth of an inch” access warning and seal all holes and cracks of that size or larger in your home. “Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through and enter,” warn the Terminix pest control experts.
- Weather strip the bottom of doors, especially the door from the garage into the home.
- As with roaches, keep the home free from food crumbs and other debris.
- If you see a mouse in your home, call a pest control company immediately. Don’t give it time to breed or cause destruction.
In fall, spiders begin the hunt for a mate. That, in turn, can work up quite the appetite.
“To discourage them from settling in your house, remove webs promptly, and turn off exterior lights at night. Lights attract insects, which in turn attract spiders searching for food,” suggests Andréana Lefton at BobVila.com.
Another solution to keeping these critters out of the home is to “Mind the Gaps and Seal the Cracks,” according to Lefton. The fewer insects in the home, the fewer spiders you’ll encounter.