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Battling Bugs in Winter

Ever noticed that winter brings a lot of unwanted pests into your home? Just like humans, these critters look for ways to stay warm as the temperatures drop.  Unlike most animals, insects don’t have body fat, which provides a great deal of warmth.  Therefore, their insides can easily freeze as the temperatures drop significantly.  Some species migrate south for the winter, but for those that remain in the same area year round, they have to find ways to survive the winter.  Burrowing into logs or underground is one way to ride out the winter, but if a warm, heated house is nearby, this is the ideal lodging place for many pests.  Every species handles the winter differently.  Some insects actually have anti-freeze chemicals in their bodies; others face the winter in larvae or cocoon stage.  There are a few key pest control practices that will help keep these critters from joining you inside for the winter.

One of the most important, yet often overlooked, ways to keep pests out of your home during the winter is outdoor maintenance.  If there are items near the edge of your house that draw pests, they will quickly and easily make their way right inside.  Leaf piles, compost piles, trashcans or piles of debris should never be kept right up against your house. It’s also important to trim back shrubs and limbs to keep them from touching or rubbing up against your house.  Consider these things as a pest’s bridge to your home.

We also suggest you take a good look around your entire house for any small openings, which might allow pests to come inside.  These openings can come in the form of small foundational cracks, slight openings around window sills or old or torn weather stripping.  It takes only a miniscule opening for hundreds of pests to enter your home.  Also inspect for any damp or rotting wood as this is a major attractant to many pests that seek out moisture. Firewood stored near your house, which can also become very damp, can also be a major attractor of bugs.  It may be a little more inconvenient to retrieve, but try and move this wood to the back of your property so that if it does attract pests, they won’t be in close proximity to your home.Use caulk to seal off small openings that allow bugs to get inside.

Though it’s common knowledge that pests are attracted to food, keeping food items unavailable to pests requires more than just occasionally sweeping the kitchen floor.  There are a wide variety of pantry pests that feed on items such as cereals, corn meal and grain processed foods.  Most of these types of foods are kept in non-sealed boxes that can be easily entered by pests.  Purchasing a few air-tight, plastic containers and transferring these items from their original packaging into these more bug-proof containers can go a long way toward keeping these critters out.  Besides, it will keep your food fresher too.

Household pests are incredibly skilled at entering your home and even practicing these methods is certainly not a guaranteed way to prevent all pests.  If you do find yourself with unwanted house guests hoping to mooch off of your heating bill, your local pest experts have safe and effective solutions to treat your home.

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