When the temperature outside drops, people aren't the only ones looking for ways to stay warm. Pests seek warmth indoors, too.
Protect your home from unwanted visitors this winter with these simple home preparedness tips from Terminix, the country’s largest provider of pest control services.
Seal pests out and warmth in
- Place weatherstripping on the bottom of all exterior doors to ensure they seal tightly. Doors that do not have a tight seal can allow a variety of pests to enter the home, and can also allow warm air to escape.
- Use caulk to seal any holes or cracks in your home’s exterior. Large holes should be stuffed with steel wool or wire before sealing with caulk or other materials.
- Eliminate cracks or openings around pipes and utility lines that enter the home. These are potential problem areas that can allow pests in and heated air out.
- Close the flue damper when the fireplace isn’t in use. An open damper can allow a large amount of air out, and is a great entry point for a variety of insects, rodents and wildlife.
- Ensure attic and foundation vents are equipped with tight-fitting 1/4-inch hardware cloth. This will help keep rodents at bay. Also install insect screening over windows, utility vents and other areas where small pests may slip through.
Check the exterior
- Move piles of firewood and other debris away from the home’s foundation. Both provide ample sources of shelter for rodents and other pests such as termites, and could encourage them to live near the home.
- Trim tree branches and shrubs away from the home. Rodents and other insects can scale rough surfaces like trees or large shrubs in order to access your home’s roof or other entry points in the home’s exterior.
Protect your investment
Just because it’s cooler, termites don’t slow down their destructive behavior. Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, and most homeowners’ insurance does not cover the damage.
It’s essential to have an annual professional home inspection for termites from a reputable pest and termite control company. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair. “Homeowners can ease their minds and protect their investment this winter by scheduling a proactive termite inspection and doing a few simple tasks to keep pests away,” says Paul Curtis, Terminix entomologist. “The best tool to fight pests is prevention.”
Additional tips for termite prevention:
- Repair roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive aboveground.
- Ensure gutters drain properly and direct moisture away from your foundation.
- Keep mulch or soil away from your home’s siding. It’s best to have a barrier of a few inches.
- Remove items like scrap lumber, boxes and even old books or newspapers from crawl spaces.
- Maintain adequate ventilation in crawl spaces.