Pest problems are very common in the fall because it is when the temperature outside begins to drop. Pests seek to escape the cold and find food in our homes, where they cause damage and pose a health risk. Thankfully, all of this can be avoided with some simple maintenance. The following lists what you can do this summer to keep pests out this fall.
1. Clean the kitchen
Pests can smell the food you keep in your kitchen from a mile away. While you can’t get rid of your food, you can keep the kitchen clean to make it less attractive.
Perform a deep clean of your kitchen while it is still warm out. Empty out the cupboards and throw out all your spoiled food. Clean the cupboards from top to bottom, removing all the grease and crumbs that have accumulated over time. Then, take this opportunity to organize the pantry. Store foods in plastic containers and sealed bags. Finish the job by pulling out the fridge and stove and cleaning the floors beneath them.
Make your deep clean last by tidying up the kitchen every day. Wash the dishes and take out the garbage every day. Sweep and mop on a regular basis.
2. Fix your humidity problem
Bugs love moisture. If you find that your basement or bathroom is humid, consider getting a dehumidifier. If you can get your hands on a hygrometer, aim for a humidity level of 40-50% in the summer and 30-40% in the winter. If you can’t, test the humidity by filling a glass with water and 3-4 ice cubes. Wait 5 minutes. If there is condensation dripping on the sides of the glass, the air is too humid.
The fans in your bathrooms should be able to reduce the humidity in the room after a bath or a shower. If they’re not, you may need to clean them out of replace them. Fix leaky faucets and avoid having any standing water in the room.
3. Seal entry points – don’t let them in!
Pests get into the house somehow. Walk around the house and examine the foundation carefully for cracks. Check your window frames, door frames, and vinyl siding as well. Fill gaps with a silicone caulking to keep pests out.
Block out your wall vents and weep vents by covering them in metal mesh. A quarter inch mesh works best against rodents. You can purchase mesh at the hardware store or by contacting a pest control company. Fix of replace window screens and put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors to the outside. This includes the garage door.
4. Do some landscaping
Mice, squirrels, raccoons, insects, and other pests are drawn to yards that are overgrown and cluttered. Take the time this summer to pull weeds, mow the lawn, and tidy up the yard. Trim back any overgrown vines or bushes and cut tree branches away from the roof. Move firewood and leaf piles away from the sides of the home. If you have a vegetable garden, cover your plants with row covers or mesh to keep pests out. Pick fallen fruit off the ground and get rid of the bird feeder.
5. Fix the deck or porch
Skunks, raccoons, and rodents love to den under decks during the winter. Look for holes in the sides of the deck and seal them shut. If you can, look underneath the deck first and inspect the foundation with a flashlight. Seal any holes you find with steel wool, caulking, or mesh. Remove the debris you find under the deck so that it is clean.
For maximum protection against pests, dig a trench around the deck and screw a metal mesh into its sides. This will stop burrowing animals from digging their way underneath the deck.
6. Maintain the attic
Attics are attractive to pests because they are warm and relatively safe from humans. Go inspect the attic and look for signs of an infestation. Look for burrow holes, feces, leaves, and branches. If you see anything, call a local pest control company like Enviro Pest Control for safe removal. While you are up there, see if your insulation needs replacing and make sure your vents aren’t blocked.
7. Check on the roof
How is the roof looking? Mice, squirrels, and raccoons are excellent climbers that can get into the attic by climbing onto the roof. Check the edges of the roof carefully for gaps or openings and fix what you can. Look for loose shingles and holes. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a contractor to repair the roof for you.
You should also consider capping your chimney and roof vents with an impenetrable mesh. Shape the mesh to fit over the vents and screw the material into the roof. If you cannot find the right material, or if it is unsafe for you to access the roof, call a pest control company for help.
8. Clean out the gutters
Clean out the gutters to allow for the proper flow of water and to make the roof less appealing to pests. Squirrels will use the debris inside as nesting materials and may even nest in the gutters themselves. If your gutters are blocked, water will accumulate and damage the foundation of the home. Clean these out now or later in the fall, when the leaves have fallen.
9. Hire a pest control technician
Pest control professionals are not only good for getting rid of pests but for keeping them out, too. Call your nearest exterminator and ask them to inspect your property for you. They will know where to look for entry points and what to do if they find any. If they come across a pest issue, they can take care of it for you.