Perhaps the only thing worse than the flying pests of summer — houseflies, wasps, and gnats, to name a few — are the crawling bugs and filthy rodents that look for shelter indoors during winter.
Rodents are known to carry diseases such as salmonella and hantavirus; squirrels can chew through wiring and wood boards; certain spiders can bite, causing serious side effects; and cockroaches, besides being unsanitary and just plain gross, can trigger asthma and allergies.
Frequent cleaning — wiping all kitchen surfaces, sweeping floors, vacuuming carpets and rugs, and picking up stray crumbs of food — will make your home less inviting to winter pests, but it’s not enough.
The National Pest Management Association has several other tips to help keep your home free of nuisances:
- Seal cracks and holes outside and inside your home to help prevent rodents from getting in. Be sure to check the areas where utilities and pipes enter the home. A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
- Replace loose mortar and weatherstripping around the basement foundation and windows.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home. Mice and ants can make their nests in wood piles and easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
- Rodents can hide in clutter, so keep storage areas well organized. Store boxes off of the floor.
- Eliminate all moisture sites, including leaking pipes and clogged drains. Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms, as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
- Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens in windows.
- Screen vents to chimneys. Keep attics, basements, and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry.
(Image: Flickr/Brian Kellett)