Cypress' Complete Overwintering Pest Prevention Guide
As winter approaches, people usually spend time preparing for the cold. They pull out their winter clothes and get their shovels ready. But one often overlooked winter preparation is pest prevention. The cold weather sends a variety of pests indoors, and this spells trouble for homeowners. Check out this guide to learn how to prepare for these pests and keep them outside where they belong.
What Are The Local Overwintering Pests?
Almost any pest in Cypress can enter your home in the winter. Even though some insects and mammals slow down in the cold weather, they can still be around. But some pests are more active and invasive in the winter than others.
It's important to know a little about these pests because their behaviors vary. Without some understanding of the habits of the specific pests, you can't keep them out. Here's some information on the most common local winter invaders:
In the spring and summer, squirrels might stay outside and steal from your bird feeder. However, the winter brings cold weather, sending squirrels scampering for a warm place to hide. It's not uncommon for squirrels to take refuge inside the walls of homes.
Although this might not seem like a problem, it could be a disaster for your home. Squirrels look cuddly and cute but have sharp teeth. They're like other rodents in that they need to chew on things constantly. To satisfy their need, they chew on wires, insulation, and other materials in your walls. At the worst, squirrels can leave your home vulnerable to fires.
Mice and Rats
Two other rodents invade Cypress homes during the winter months - mice and rats. Both types of rodents seek out the warmth from your home. They're even more likely to invade than squirrels because of their small size. Even if you have a small hole in your wall, rodents can make it large enough to enter.
Surprisingly, rodents can hide out for months without showing signs of their presence. While they hang out in your walls, rodents silently do damage. But worse than the damage is the fact that rodents spread serious illnesses. Simply having rodents around is enough for you to become sick; their feces and urine can transmit diseases.
Fortunately, you don't need to worry about having rats and mice around. They usually steer clear of one another, and you will probably only find one type of pests in your walls. With that in mind, you should know that rats or mice alone can cause significant harm or damage.
Across the world, there are many different types of cockroaches. There are only a handful of roaches in Cypress and even fewer that invade homes and businesses. The American cockroach and German cockroach are among the most likely to come inside.
Although cockroaches tend to be a problem all year long, they are the most troublesome in the winter. When it gets cold outside, cockroaches seek the warmth and dark of your home. They also may find it harder to locate food outside, which sends them into your home for crumbs.
You're most likely to encounter roaches in the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. To survive, roaches need food and moisture. Regardless of how clean you are, your home has plenty of sustenance for cockroaches. A few crumbs are more than enough to satisfy them.
Don't let the small size of cockroaches fool you. While some of the other overwintering pests are larger than cockroaches, the size is misleading. Cockroaches can spread serious or even deadly diseases. As cockroaches walk across your surfaces, they leave a trail of pathogens.
Most people don't think of raccoons as household pests. While a raccoon might not bother you in the summer, it could pose a threat in the winter. The low temperature sends raccoons scrambling for warmth. If you leave your chimney, attic, or garage open, raccoons can get inside.
Warmth isn't the only thing that attracts raccoons. If you have food in your home, it could become a meal for raccoons. Everything in your garbage cans and pantry is fair game. Because raccoons are so large, they do significant damage when they invade homes. In some cases, raccoons opt to make dens indoors. The property damage isn't the only thing you need to worry about. Worse than the property damage is the fact that raccoons can bite and transmit rabies.
Although raccoons aren't very aggressive, they do bite if they feel threatened. And you can be sure a cornered raccoon sees you as a threat and will attack. You don't want to encounter a raccoon anywhere on your property.
Why Are Overwintering Pests Such A Problem?
Before you take the time to learn more about overwintering pest prevention, you should find out why pest prevention matters so much. People often underestimate just how dangerous and damaging pests in Cypress can be.
While most locals realize that pests are a nuisance, they don't always consider the potential health hazards. Almost all pests in Cypress can have some impact on your health. They spread diseases that range from minor to deadly, usually having a greater impact on young children and the elderly.
Of course, there's also the issue of property damage. And this may also fall into the health and safety category. If a rat chews up your electrical wiring and creates a fire hazard, your home could go up in flames. There's a major risk associated with this type of property damage. Along with the danger comes a high cost. Have you ever had to replace your insulation or electrical panel? If not, you may be in for a surprise. The cost associated with pest damage can be in the thousands.
Infestations Don't Disappear Overnight
One of the other issues with overwintering pests is that they don't go away on their own. At all times of the year, pests are reluctant to leave homes. But in the winter, there's even more incentive for them to stay indoors. The cold weather and lack of resources make it hard for you to evict your unwanted and uninvited tenants.
Suppose you try (do-it-yourself (DIY) pest removal methods; you aren't likely to have much success. Think about how you can try to get rid of cockroaches. At the store, you may find a few different cockroach baits. But those baits don't get rid of all the roaches hiding in your home. They might eliminate a few cockroaches, but all the others will remain. Even worse, they will all reproduce.
The longer you take to handle your pest infestation, the worse the problem will become. To truly eliminate pests from your home, you need to work with a pest control company. They have the right tools and the right training to find, eliminate, and keep away cockroaches.
Winter Pest Prevention Tips
By now, you probably realize it's important to keep winter pests away from your home. While this may sound like a simple thing to do, it's not as easy as it sounds. To get you started, here are a few easy tips to keeping winter pests away:
Seal Up Your Home
Before the winter arrives, you should take measures to seal up your home. This comes with two benefits - it keeps the warm air in your home from escaping, and it also keeps pests out. If you don't have gaps, cracks, and holes in the exterior of your home, you won't have pests entering.
If you have a caulk gun, you can seal up your home quickly and easily. Walk around the exterior of your home and look for possible pest entrances. Don't ignore small cracks because pests can use them as a way in. Despite the larger size of rodents, they can chew tiny cracks and make them large entrances. Using your caulk gun, seal up everything. As you work, pay close attention to your plumbing fixtures as well as your electrical wiring.
Another way to seal up your home is to check your windows and doors. Do they have screens, and are those screens intact? If not, consider installing screens or fixing holes in the screens. Your doors may need door sweeps or weatherstripping to eliminate gaps. These are all easy enough to install on your own.
Clean Your Home
While you might clean your home every week, how frequently do you do a deep clean? If you're like most homeowners, deep cleans don't happen very often. This means that food remains under your refrigerator and behind your stove for months at a time. Although an old toast crumb isn't appetizing to you, it's appealing to cockroaches and other small pests.
As the cold weather approaches, get ready to do a thorough clean. Pull everything out of your pantry and wipe down the shelves. Throw out expired food and seal up all of your other food in plastic or glass containers. By doing this, you make food less accessible to pests. It might not be raccoon-proof, but a sealed container keeps out most pests.
Make sure to clean behind and under your appliances as well. After your deep clean, keep up with regular maintenance. When a spill happens, clean it up right away. Get into a routine of sweeping or vacuuming after meals and doing the dishes immediately after eating.
Store Your Trash Properly
The average household has a shocking amount of trash. And, as the saying goes, one man's trash is another's treasure. In this case, the "other" is a pest. Your food scraps are exactly what overwintering pests need to survive.
For your trash to be off-limits, you need to use a can with a lid. Your outside trash should have a heavy-duty lid to keep out the largest of pests. Meanwhile, your inside trash should also have a lid.
When you dispose of your garbage, close up the bag first. Instead of allowing your can to overflow, get another can. You might be amazed at the difference your garbage can makes when it comes to pest prevention.
Maintain Your Yard
In the winter, people often forget about their yard. The snow makes yard maintenance seem irrelevant. Unfortunately, this attitude could be why you have winter pests. A messy yard attracts a variety of pests, including rodents.
One of your biggest concerns should be tree branches. If any branches touch your home or roof, rodents can use them as bridges into your living space. You can trim back your branches to keep pests away. However, do so with caution and hire a professional if necessary.
It would be best if you also made sure piles of junk don't accumulate. If you find garbage or piles of sticks forming in your backyard, take the time to clean them up. Although you aren't hosting any backyard barbecues, you still need to care for your yard.
What's The Best Way To Keep Winter Pests Away?
You can spend your entire fall season trying to make your home less appealing to pests. However, your efforts won't be enough. Somehow, winter pests always find a way inside. They will do anything to survive and are quite resourceful.
For the best results, you should work with a pest control professional. They have the right tools and knowledge necessary to keep winter pests far from your home. And that can make all the difference - it gives you peace of mind and means your home will be a much safer place this coming winter.
If it's too late and you already have an overwintering pest in your home, you should also turn to a pro. The best way to eliminate pests is to call us at Modern Pest Control. Our team has spent years serving the Cypress community. We offer ongoing home pest control solutions to ensure your home is a safe place no matter what season it is.
Whether you want to work on pest prevention or you're ready to kick out an unwanted visitor, we can help. Call us today to learn more.