Easy DIY Methods to Help Keep Autumn Pests Out
The cold weather of fall and winter drives everyone indoors. And while cozying up under a blanket with a mug of hot cider or tea might sound like the ultimate comfort, all that relaxation goes out the window the moment you see a mouse or cockroach scurry across the floor.
Humans aren’t the only species that enjoys a warm home on a chilly fall or winter day. There are a variety of pests that want in just as badly as you do. Rats, mice, and cockroaches all live a year or longer, meaning they need to find somewhere warm to hole up over the winter, too.
Of course, you’re not keen to share your home rent-free with any unwanted roommates; but even more concerning is the fact that these and other fall invaders can pose a serious risk to your health and safety, as well as your property.
Rodents are notorious for destroying electrical wire and drywall, plus they can transmit diseases like salmonella and hantavirus. Cockroaches can contaminate food stores with their droppings and can be especially dangerous for people with asthma, who often react with allergies.
The best way to deal with fall invaders is to prepare your home ahead of time to make it less appealing and less accessible to them. These easy DIY methods are broken down across three main targets: food sources, water sources and exclusion.
Start in your kitchen by keeping your surfaces and floors clean and uncluttered. Seal up and store any dry food in airtight bins. Be sure to keep trash in covered cans, too, and remove trash bags to an outside receptacle regularly.
Don’t leave pet food sitting out 24/7, either. Pests love dog and cat food just as much as your fur family does. Feed Fido and Fluffy at mealtime, then put their food away, preferably in sealed containers.
Some pests feast on wood, so stack firewood at least 20 feet away from the house. Don’t pile it next to any other outdoor structures, either, like sheds or trees. Plus, it’s not just wood-destroying pests that are drawn to firewood. Many others -- especially rodents and roaches -- will use wood piles as shelter.
Next, identify water sources and, when possible, eliminate them. All animals need water to survive, and many pests are drawn to areas of condensation and accumulation, so keep basements and attics well-ventilated and dry. Good airflow plus a dehumidifier will make the areas above and below your home less hospitable for pests.
Make sure existing drainage systems—both indoor and outdoor— are working properly. Gutters and drain pipes should usher water away from your home, not towards it. That will help draw moisture and humidity away, helping you keep your home clean and dry.
Finally, don’t give pests an easy entrance to your home. Place screens over any openings, including attic vents, chimneys, mail slots and animal doors, or else they’re an open invitation for critters to use as a front door.
Using caulk and steel wool, seal up any cracks around utility pipes, vents or any other portal between the inside and outside of your home. Even rodents can squeeze through an opening as small as a dime, so it’s important to be thorough. Also check the weather stripping around windows and doors and replace any that seems saggy or loose. Pests can squeeze underneath your doors if there’s enough room, so block them with door sweeps.
One last note: Inspect all boxes, packages and other items before bringing them inside. That includes both packages that have been shipped to your home as well as boxes or bins that are kept in either the garage or an outdoor shed. Don’t let that Amazon box become a Trojan horse for pests!
Want to make it easier? We’ve got you covered with an affordable option to proactively keep pests at bay. Ask a representative about our Home Quarterly Program for year-round protection from the 50 most common household pests.