As summer heat waves begin to relent, you’re probably getting out your fall decorations, looking forward to the cooler temperatures, and perhaps the chance to finally gather with family and friends for the holidays. But, before you start planning for fall festivities, you may want to add one more thing to your list—preparing your home against pests.
Just like humans, insects and rodents want to find a safe and protected place to spend the fall and winter months. That means taking advantage of the warmth and shelter offered by your home. Let’s explore some of the key areas of your home where pests may invade and the steps you can take to prevent problems and keep your family safe.
If you need help pest-proofing your home this fall, you can contact Western Exterminator to help.
Fall means extra time outside enjoying the cooler weather. Keep in mind that mosquitoes, ticks, and stinging pests are still very active, and rodents also begin seeking shelter. Reports of West Nile virus peak in late summer and early fall, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Protect yourself and your yard from pests with some of these helpful tips:
- Wear an EPA-approved insect repellent and long sleeves and pants when outside.
- Consider a barrier treatment of your yard to keep mosquitoes and ticks away.
- Eliminate standing water from your yard.
- Have visible wasp or hornet nests safely removed by a pest control professional.
- Store firewood away from your home to reduce pest harborage areas.
- Remove debris that could be a hiding place for rodents or hold water: old tires, equipment, toys.
Windows and doors
Plenty of fall pests can gain access to your home through small cracks, gaps, and holes around doors and windows such as lady bugs, mosquitoes, and flies.
- Inspect around window and door frames for gaps and cracks. Seal any you find with caulk or silicone. Do not seal if you’ve already seen large numbers of pests in your home, as you could end up sealing them into walls. Speak to your Western pest specialist for expert tips for your home.
- Inspect screens for damage. Repair any holes or replace damaged screens so you’re ready for next spring.
Attic, chimney, and gutters
Don’t forget the top of your home! Rodents, birds, drywood termites, and other pests can find their way in and take up residence in this often undisturbed space. Unprotected chimneys and exterior vents can also provide access for pests.
- Inspect along the roofline inside your attic for gaps, cracks, or missing insulation. Seal openings with rodent-proof materials and install TAP (Thermal Acoustical Pest Control) insulation to help control pests in your attic and save on your energy bills.
- Items stored in the attic should be kept in rodent-proof containers.
- Install a chimney cap. Your Western Exterminator Specialist can help you with this.
- Clean your gutters regularly. Gutters that become clogged with leaves and debris make a perfect spot for pests to settle in. Overflowing gutters can create moisture problems in the walls of your home or create saturated ground, both of which can cause other pest issues.
Much like attics, basements can serve as the perfect harborage for many pests because it is often used for storage and is relatively undisturbed.
- Spiders may hang out in corners in your basement. Although they’re often harmless, they can be disturbing. Use a vacuum to remove spiders and cobwebs.
- Keep any stored items in rodent-proof containers.
- If your basement is damp or humid, consider a dehumidifier to reduce pest-friendly conditions.
- If your washer, hot water heater, or other plumbing-reliant machinery is in the basement, check regularly for leaks and fix any that you find immediately.
Pantry, laundry room, mudroom, and entryways
These areas are high-traffic areas that often serve multiple purposes - food storage, kids’ school and sports equipment storage, and a pet feeding area. They also allow plenty of potential pest entry opportunities and items for attraction.
- Be sure your dryer vent is properly covered outside to prevent rodent entry.
- Keep any pet food in sealed containers, and clean up pet food eating areas after pets have finished eating to keep a variety of insect pests from invading.
- Store dried foods, such as pastas, grains, and flour, in sealed containers.
- Moths in your pantry? You could have a stored product pest problem. Do a thorough cleanout. Practice first in, first out rotation so that the oldest products get used first.
- Pay attention to notices that are sent home from school about bed bug or lice issues. Inspect children’s backpacks and coats regularly, and investigate if you notice your kids have unusual bites or are itching and scratching more than usual.
Garages often serve as an extension of people’s homes, offering quick entry into the house, storage, workshop space, and more. They also offer lots of opportunities for pests to get in.
- Be sure that your garage door closes fully and seals flush with the ground to prevent rodent and wildlife entry. If it does not, have it repaired.
- Keep garage doors and connecting doors to your home closed when not in use.
- Clear away clutter. Boxes, old equipment, and other clutter stacked in corners can provide harborage for rodents, spiders, and other unwanted pests.
Top 10 fall pest prevention tips