5 steps to avoid unwelcome winter pests

5 steps to avoid unwelcome winter pests
raccoon in a trap

raccoon in a trap

Are you taking precautions against winter weather in your home? Protecting your home from the winter cold goes hand in hand with pest control.  As cool weather moves in, so do mice, ants, and other creatures. There are several measures that can be taken to ensure that you won’t have extra residents in your home this winter.

1. Clean up outdoors

Most likely you’ll be spending some fall days cleaning out your flower beds and gardens. Rake out debris that has collected around the foundation of your home. Most building codes require six inches of the foundation to show above ground, and eliminating debris that has collected will stop the growth of mold, the decay of your home, and easy entrance to your home for insects. Make sure there are no holes in the foundation or any rotting wood because these are easy entrances for mice and rats.

2. Trim overhanging trees or bushes

Trim bushes and trees with overhanging limbs that give squirrels and pests easy access to your roof. While you’re looking at the roof, look for any loose or missing shingles that would allow pests to get into your insulation and make nests there.

3. Seal cracks

Although you want to make sure your windows and doors are properly insulated to keep heat in your home during the winter, overlooking just the smallest cracks will let in all sorts of bugs and pests.  The same goes with your garage door. If the weather-stripping on the bottom is ripping or damaged, this is an easy fix to help keep animals out of your garage and also your home.

4. Avoid allowing entry

Spend some time inside cleaning out your attic and basement looking for entry points. Mice can squeeze into the smallest crevices and make their nests in the walls and other warm dark spaces. While you can get a cat, set traps, and hire a professional exterminator, it’s best to prevent the problem from happening.

5. Don’t tempt unwelcome visitors

Avoid pests getting into your food by sealing items in plastic, glass, and metal containers. Don’t let your pet’s food sit out overnight and always keep that area clean.  Look for telltale signs of mice like small bites or holes in food bags and boxes and droppings on shelves. If you suspect a mouse has been in your kitchen, make sure you wash the surfaces and dishes or containers where you believe it has been.

Although you can fight winter pests fairly effectively, the damage they can do can be costly, so it is best to take precautions to avoid dealing with them later in the winter. Besides, no one likes to set mousetraps or walk around their home in their shoes to avoid stepping on an unwelcome visitor.

About this Angie’s List Expert: David Castro is the founder of Merlin’s Pest Control. The family owned Denville, N.J.-based company company has provided wildlife removal services, termite control, exterminating and pest control services for northern New Jersey residents since 1988. Follow this #ALExperts contributor on Twitter @MerlinsPest.

As of December 3, 2013 this service provider was highly rated onAngie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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