Residents of Atlanta, Georgia would all likely agree it’s been a long cold winter. The winter months aren’t typically thought of as a very active time for household pests. When temperatures drop, pests have a harder time moving, eating, and reproducing, but even in very cold weather they don’t die off. In fact, in winter months, pests will typically look to your home for warmth and shelter. With the cold weather outdoors you will often find pests, rodents and other wildlife hidden in walls or attics seeking shelter and food patiently waiting for spring and warmer temperatures.
As homeowners, often times we overlook winter pests but pests like; cluster flies, spiders, cockroaches, rodents, crickets and even raccoons and skunks can be a problem in the winter. It’s important to understand the different types of pests commonly found and what you can do to protect your home.
These pests make our Atlanta, GA “Winter Pests Most Wanted List”:
Rodents are little concern during the temperate months when mice and rats can be found actively roaming outdoors where there is plenty of food. However, when the temperature begins to cool and food sources become more scarce, rodents will seek out a more welcoming environment like your home. Rodents can enter your home through cracks or holes near plumbing, electrical outlets and where your HVAC pipes come in from outside. Holes can be as small as a nickel for them to squeeze through so ensuring all cracks and crevices are sealed is key to preventing a rodent infestation. Once inside, they build nests and begin to forage for food at night when you are fast asleep leaving droppings, bacteria and other pathogens behind.
Squirrels, raccoon, skunks and bats are a few of the common types of nuisance wildlife likely to enter your home in the winter. They are most likely to be found in attics and basements or in other areas of the home that provide a perfect hiding place. Squirrels and other nuisance wildlife aren’t just looking for a place to hide out for the winter, they are usually using your home as the ideal spot to breed and raise their young growing brood. Unlike rodents who scavenge for food within your home, the adult squirrels will leave the home daily to seek food outside then return to feed their offspring daily.
Cluster Flies spend the winter relatively inactive, hiding out in attics and wall voids inside the structure of your home. Once they are safely hidden indoors, their populations grow quickly making early identification and treatment key to preventing a wide-spread infestation. Although harmless, cluster flies can prove to be a nuisance to homeowners once indoors.
Other winter houseguest pests include; box elder bugs, lady bugs and stink bugs which invade in the fall and normally hibernate during the winter but are also likely to stay active once they have made their way indoors. The key to treating winter pests is taking steps to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Here are some steps to take to ensure your home is pest free for the winter.
- Seal any cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
- Repair damaged screens on windows or doors.
- Seal off any entry points. Inspect the outside of your home for easy access points.
- Remove all moisture build up around your home. Check for leaking pipes and clogged drains.
- Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Clean counters and sweep floors to eliminate crumbs and residue.
- Inspect items such as boxes containing holiday decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
- Keep items in garages, basements and attics in sealed plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes to prevent rodents from nesting inside.
- Keep branches and shrubbery well-trimmed. Make sure to store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
Taking these steps to properly seal your home can help you prevent a winter pest infestation. Call Truly Nolen of Atlanta for a free pest inspection if you suspect you have an infestation or see or hear any rodents or wildlife in your home.