Why the Arrival of Winter Doesn’t Mean You Can Relax Pest Control Measures
Homeowners and businesses tend to think that when summer ends, and the weather starts turning colder, their pest control problems are over for the year. That isn’t necessarily accurate, because although most insect pests will have gone into hibernation, there are lots of other critters and pests that can cause havoc in homes and offices. This is mainly because during the warmer months, critters and pests like rodents, mice, and roaches roam outside where they find food and warm weather.
The arrival of winter brings with it a harsh change in the climate, and to survive these critters and pests seek the warmth, and comfort of buildings. This is where their survival instinct kicks in, and they head for homes and office buildings to scavenge for food and to build nests to hibernate through the winter months. Residential homes and commercial properties are ideal for rodents and critters, since it presents the perfect conditions for them to breed and nest. They have lots of food supplies, and can lodge in the comfort of a nest to ride out the harsh winter weather.
Urban and Rural Properties
The location of the residential or commercial property has a bearing on the behavior of pests in that locality. This is because rodents, critters, and pests behave differently in urban and rural settings. In urban areas rodents and pests will breed in the winter because of the warmth of nesting sites indoors. While, in rural areas, they will breed during the warmer summer months, and will mainly forage and scavenge for food indoors during winter.
However, there isn’t a set rule on the breeding habits of rodents and critters, since most will breed throughout the year, regardless of the weather. It should also be noted that they tend to mature very quickly, and if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on any property. Therefore, it is critical that residential homeowners and business owners be alert to the possible signs of any pest or rodent infestation, especially during the winter months.
How to Spot Signs of Infestation
The good news is that you won’t have to look hard for signs of possible rodent or pest infestations if you know where to look on the property. Most homeowners and business owners will be able to easily spot signs of infestations if they are diligent and regular in their inspections. It takes some getting used to, but once you know how to spot signs of infestations on your property, you will be able to easily identify possible infestations.
This will allow you to call in the pest control experts and control the problem, before it gets any worse. Catching an infestation early is crucial in dealing with the problem, so here is how you can spot signs of rodent and pest infestations on your property:
- Animal Tracks
Wild mice and rodents are dirty critters, and will tend to leave clear signs of their whereabouts in any home or office building. If you pay attention you will be able to locate the routes they take from their nests, and you can also find little crumbs or dirt accumulated in places where they nest and feed.
- Damage to Property
Rodents and critters like to chew on anything they can get their hands on, and when building a nest there will also be signs of burrowing or gnawing. You should check all storage rooms, attics, and garages for signs of damage, especially near packaging and boxes. This is where they will probably nest, and look out for food products being gnawed at in the kitchen or pantry.
- Fecal Matter
All rodents, critters, and pests will leave their droppings randomly in the home, and the good news is that you can identify it easily. If you notice fecal matter gathered around in your home or office space, it is a sure sign of a rodent infestation.
- Evidence of Nesting
If you find lots of shredded cardboards, plants, or paper lying around in your storage rooms or attics, it might be a sign that you have a pest infestation problem. Nests are generally prepared in areas that are low traffic and away from sight, so make sure that you thoroughly check such areas.
The only way you will be able to catch pest infestations in your home or office during the winter is if you are aware of the signs that show an infestation problem. Once you identify the problem, you shouldn’t hesitate to call in the pest control professionals to deal with the situation. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not sure, getting the experts to look around your home or office will help.
Common Pests that Invade During the Winter Season
When the winter months arrive, most pests will go underground or into hibernation mode, while others will look to migrate to warmer weather. The National Pest Management Association, has revealed that the following pests are the most common pests that will invade your home or office building during the winter season. These include the following:
Here is a brief guide on dealing with each type of pest infestation during the winter months.
- House Mice
One of the most common pests in homes and offices in the United States must be the house mouse, which tends to nest in secluded and dark areas. It will commonly be found in the basements or attics, and will damage property by chewing through anything, be it wires or drywall. They are a nuisance, since they breed fast, and can also cause an electrical fire. House mice also carry diseases like tapeworms and salmonella, and can contaminate food as well.
How to deal with them:
You should seal all cracks and holes in and around your property, since these mice will get into any opening or space. Make sure that you keep store boxes on shelves instead of on the floor, since these mice love hiding in clutter. Make sure that you inspect for signs of droppings, and damaged food.
- Norway Rats
Norway rats aren’t from Norway, they are indigenous to the United States, and are commonly found in undisturbed materials, piles of debris, and basements. They are annoying to deal with, mainly because they will gnaw and chew through anything, be it lead or plastic pipes when scavenging. They are also known to carry diseases like cowpox virus, rat-bite fever, and jaundice.
Norway rat are remarkably flexible, and have been known to slide through openings as tiny as the size of a quarter. Therefore, you should take precautions in sealing and closing out gaps, and eliminate any source of moisture from basements and crawl spaces. Also, look for track marks, which are left behind by these rats in homes or offices.
- German Cockroaches
Cockroaches are a menace no matter what the season, but they don’t disappear in winter as well. The most common type of cockroach in the world is the German cockroach. They dwell in areas close to moisture and food, which is why the bathroom, kitchens and pantry are the areas where they are likely to be found. These cockroaches can get into your home or office in grocery bags, secondhand appliances, and boxes. German cockroaches can spread human pathogens, and bacteria, and will contaminate food. They are also known to trigger allergies, especially asthma in children.
You should keep all floors and counters clean, and free from any crumbs. Dispose garbage frequently, vacuum your floors, and keep bathrooms and kitchens free of moisture.
- Brown Recluse Spiders
Spiders are a strict no-no in homes or offices, and the most common ones to watch out for in winter are the brown recluse spiders. They prefer to spin their webs in undisturbed places, like basements, crawl spaces, attics, and closets. The Brown Recluse is generally found inside window moldings, cardboard boxes, and seldom used clothes. These spiders are dangerous, since they can bite and inject venom.
Trim all shrubbery and branches away from your home, and the roof, so that spiders can’t get inside your home. Make sure that you store shoes and clothes in plastic containers, and pay attention to unused boxes and items in your home, since that is where they are likely to hide.
You will mainly find raccoons in the eastern parts of the United States, and this critter can be a real menace, since it enters homes and offices from chimneys or attics. They also carry rabies, which is why you should call in the professionals if they get inside your home.
Raccoons are scavengers and will try to get into trashcans and recycling bins. Make sure that you keep all trashcans locked shut, and inspect access points like chimneys and broken vent covers, from where they can get inside. You should trim tree branches around your home to reduce the chances of raccoons getting onto the roof of your home.
The Best Winter Pest Control Tactics
Most people don’t realize that to eliminate pests from their life, they need to practice pest control tactics throughout the year. It becomes even more important in the winter, because the scarcity of food for scavengers and pests, means that they will take every chance they get to invade your property. So, make sure that you don’t keep any open food products, and safely secure all entry points into your home, which will become nesting places for pests.
Businesses should also be alert to the dangers of pest infestations in winter, and should take appropriate steps. Most pests will try to get into warehouses and empty lots, which become ideal breeding and nesting grounds for them. Cutting back branches, and trimming down the shrubbery before the winter months will also allow you to reduce hiding spots for pests.
The Winter Pest Preparation Checklist
As winter arrives it is time that you start preparing your home or office to ensure that you don’t have to spend the cold days trapped inside with pests and critters. This is the reason why we have gone through the effort to create a winter pest preparation checklist. It will highlight what you must do both inside and outside your property, so that you don’t have to deal with any rodents, and pests.
When prepping your home or office for pest infestations in the winter, it is better if you start from the outside and then work your way towards preparing the inside. You should make it as difficult as possible for pests and critters from breaking into your home. So here is the outdoor winter pest preparation checklist for your home or office:
- Trim your hedges
- Groom your lawn
- Move your firewood
- Seal up cracks
- Put in vent screens
- Clear out gutters and drainage
Now that you have prepared for pests outside your home or office, it is time that you prepare the inside as well. This is so that even if some pests or critters manage to get inside your home, they won’t be able to last, since you will catch them quick, and call in the experts to deal with them. So, here is indoor winter pest preparation checklist for your home or office:
- Keep food in airtight containers
- Clean up your basement
- Organize your clutter
- Repair leaks
- Replace old weather stripping
When preparing your home or office for pests in winter, it may seem like that you are taking too many precautions. However, in our experience you can never be too safe, since pests and critters will not stop at anything to get inside your home and nest there throughout the winter. Therefore, you should ensure that you make all preparations before winter arrives, since it will help you ride out the winter months, without worrying about any pest infestations.
If you are dealing with a pest infestation problem, then get in touch with Green Pest Services in Virginia. We offer residential and commercial pest control services in all seasons for homeowners and businesses in Virginia, and the surrounding areas.