Pest-proofing Your Home For The Fall

August 12, 2019

Summer is almost over, and we only have a few more weeks to enjoy the outdoors. What was once long and hot days will eventually become shorter and much cooler. This will be the season to enjoy the warm comfort of your home, with a cup of hot chocolate for a cozy evening.

This will also be a time when pests are going to be in high gear searching for homes that will give them the same warmth and comfort that your house can give. They probably will be there inside with you and your family, because cold weather simply brings everyone indoors. These pests include rats, mice, cockroaches, and even spiders; there are multiple universes right there inside your home. These pests live long enough to survive the whole year, so they naturally would need to look for a place to survive the cold months.

We welcome family, we welcome friends, we welcome pets into our houses, but certainly not pests. Rats and mice bring dangerous diseases, as well as cause structural damage to our homes. Cockroaches bring in filth, that is why they are so dangerous to have around. Spiders are generally peaceful, and most species do not pose a threat. However, there are a couple of species that are dangerous because of their venom, and they bite when threatened.

We have a way to stop them from invading our homes, fortunately. Here are some of the ways you can pest-proof your house for the fall: 

1) Seal off cracks, crevices, and holes on the outside of your home by caulking. Not only will doing this prevent these pests from using them as entry points, but it will also keep water out and prevent any further damage to your foundation. Rodents are flexible enough to fit into holes the size of a dime. Cockroaches too can slip into thin cracks, so do not take for granted any of the small openings you see. Look at where the utility pipes enter the structure too. You should also replace weather stripping around the windows and foundation. 

2) Maintain good sanitation in your home. Kitchen counters should be free of food spills and drink spills. Do not leave unwashed dishes overnight on the sink. Store your food in sealed containers. Throw away your garbage regularly. Your trash cans should also be covered so as not to attract rats, mice, and cockroaches. Keep in mind too that pests do not discriminate between our food and our pet’s food. Do not leave pet food dishes out for too long as this would be another food source for pests. 

3) A proper drainage system outdoors will help. Place gutters or repair an existing system to draw water and moisture out of your home and this will eventually prevent leaks or build up that might attract pests. Make sure these are always running, lest they attract mosquitoes too. 

4) Place a door sweep and maintain your screens, repairing them if damaged. Opening under doors and torn window screens are ideal entry points for these pests. Also, make sure you close your doors all the time. You might just be letting in more than just people. 

5) Another way houses get pests is through packages coming from the outside. Inspect boxes, grocery bags, furniture, and even your own luggage after traveling. Insects are very good at hitchhiking and would gladly jump on your belongings to wherever you will be going.

6) Your basements, attics, and crawl spaces should be well ventilated and dry. Moisture is what most pests thrive on and need to survive. Install dehumidifiers in basements to keep the area dry.

7) Screen any other areas in your house that may be open to the outdoors, like attic vents, chimneys, mail slots, and your pet’s door. 

8) Keep grasses and shrubs well-trimmed. Keep your firewood at least 20 feet away from the house. The less hiding places pests can find around your house, the better it would be for you. The firewood attracts termites and carpenter ants. If the plants in your garden seem to be past their prime, it would be better to pull them out and make sure you do not leave any leaves and other debris in the area. 

The Rogues' Gallery

In case you are wondering which of these pests are we preparing for, here is a rogues’ gallery of fall pests to expect:

Spiders - Spiders are generally peaceful creatures, and they prefer to keep to themselves. If you are at home right now reading this, you are probably just 3 feet away from a spider. Basically, our houses are filled with different kinds of spiders, yet we do not know about most of them. We simply co-exist. The only signs we have of them are the occasional cobwebs.

Then again, there are some types of spiders that are dangerous because of their venom. In the United States, there are two types of venomous spiders: the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider. The black widow spider is the largest venomous spider in the U.S. and is characterized by the red hourglass-shaped markings on the abdomen. These markings scare would-be predators, telling them that they are poisonous. Black widows bite only when they are threatened, yet there have been many reports of black widow bite cases here in America. Their venom is said to be 15 times more potent than that of a rattlesnake’s. They are not potent enough to kill humans though. 

The brown recluse spider is the only other venomous spider in the United States. Like the black widow, they bite only when threatened. They are smaller than the black widow, and as their name suggests, they would rather be left alone.

Rats and mice - Rats and mice can be such a nuisance around the house. This is because rodents are constantly chewing due to their long incisors that actually do not stop growing all their lives, so they damage anything as long as they can chew on it. By chewing on some stuff like paper, boxes, cardboards, etc., they are able to stop the incisors from growing.

Rats and mice transmit deadly diseases too. They contaminate our food through their droppings, urine, or saliva. They transfer diseases such as salmonella, rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, Lassa fever, and tularemia. Rats and mice are nocturnal creatures. They are known to be highly intelligent social animals. They also have great memories; they can easily remember paths that they walked on.

Cockroaches - Cockroaches thrive on dirt. They are not finicky eaters and they will eat just about anything; they eat rotten food, dead animals, feces, and anything that is in your garbage bin. They also love to live in places that are dirty. Cockroaches carry various disease-carrying bacteria and viruses which they transmit to humans through their droppings, urine, saliva, and vomit.

There are 4,600 species of cockroaches, but only a few may be considered as pests. In fact, only four types of cockroaches are considered as pests. The rest are out in the forests and are actually useful to the ecosystem.

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and avoid getting out of their nests during the day. They are medium in size with flat bodies and long antennae attached to their heads, and a tough external exoskeleton. They have wings that are attached to their second and third thoracic segments and are clumsy fliers if they fly at all. They have three pairs of sturdy legs that are attached to their three thoracic segments. It is best to prevent them from infesting your home because once they get in, they would be very difficult to kill; studies have shown that cockroaches are getting resistant to insecticides nowadays.

Cockroaches are vectors of diseases too. Some of these diseases include cholera, salmonella, pneumonia, food poisoning, and dysentery. They can also trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions in children.

Termites - Fall brings in the termites because termites are attracted to decaying leaves that die and fall from the trees in your garden. After feeding on these dead leaves and trees, they may soon find their way inside your house.

Termites work silently behind the walls of your house. They are also known as the “silent destroyers”. They do not look like much, they are small insects measuring one - fourth to one -half inches long. Yet they can cause billions of dollars in structural damage. They have soft bodies and straight antennae. They come in white to light brown in color. There are around 2,000 species of termites, and over 40 can be found in the United States. If you have termite infestation already, it is best to call the professional exterminators.

If you have these unwanted pests during the fall season, be sure to contact the best pest control management in the Carolinas, Go-Forth Pest Control.

Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North and South Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.

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