Winter Pest Control: Expert Tips on Keeping Your Home Pest-Free

Updated on February 11th, 2020
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Winter is here! That means more time spent inside away from chilly temperatures and drab weather outside. Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones that like to snuggle up and get out of the cold. Mice, cockroaches, spiders, and other critters could be lurking in the nooks and crannies of your home as you read this! Fortunately, we’ve gathered pest control experts from around the country to help you keep your home critter-free during colder months. Whether you’re in Salt Lake City or Providence, read on to hear what the experts recommend for keeping pests out of your home this winter!

a home during winter with no pests

Squirrels, rodents, and other pests often head into attics and homes when the weather cools down. Help prevent these invasions by trimming branches or removing trees located next to your house. Install a chimney cap to prevent entry through the fireplace, and place mesh covers over all vents. Adrienne Sederquist, Advanced IPM

In the wintertime, it’s a good idea to take down bird feeders because the open food source is a rodent attractant. Rodents are the most common wintertime pest.

In Texas and the South in general, BBQ is a cultural norm.  Sometimes BBQ pits can have a layer of grease that could be an attractant to rodents. Cleaning BBQ pits thoroughly, or at minimum, placing them far away from the structure of the home can help. Michael Stokes, COO, Fox Pest Control
  1. Be sure any holes bigger than a dime are sealed on the outside of the home, rodents can use this as an entry point into the home.
  2. When having parties be sure to wipe up all crumbs or food pieces, this can attract ants.
  3. Stack your firewood at least 18 inches away from the foundation. If that is not available, put the wood on metal racks – this will keep you from encouraging termites to feed on the wood and get into the home. Mike Houston, President, Sureguard Termite and Pest Service

The winter season typically presents several rodent, rat, and mice related issues, from home damage and overall infestation.

During winter months, rodents are searching for warmth inside your indoors. A tip to help reduce rodent activity would be to trim back any vegetation, at least 1 foot away, from your home. Vegetation allows rodents to travel more efficiently, allowing them to have easier access inside your home. Halt Pest Control

If you are looking for a way to keep the walls and ceiling voids of your home free of overwintering pests, consider the following tips:

  • Use a caulking gun and quality caulk to seal up holes in your home’s exterior foundation, gaps around window and door frames, and gaps around utility piping.
  • Clean regularly and in areas where you might usually miss such as in the basement and under furniture and appliances. (MICE LOVE CLUTTER)
  • Reduce moisture around your home by installing dehumidifiers in particularly humid areas and by fixing leaks. Chase Goodeill, Pest Control Consultants:

Did you know that the territory for a nest of rats can be up to 450 feet? Sealing up entry gaps smaller than 1/4” through the foundations of your home before pests mark it as a point of interest is important! Mice also often enter your home by coming up next to plumbing pipes, so using steel wool or copper mesh to close any open space around the pipes is a great way to help with control. Ty Ashcraft, Holistic Pest Solutions – Charlottesville, VA

Keep clean – rodents and other pests love dirty places with enough food for them to survive. This includes standing water or any other food or water sources that may be readily available to pests on your property. B & B Pest Control

Spaces, Gaps, and Holes – Oh My! A gap the size of an adult pinky finger (1/4 inch) is large enough for mice to fit through. If it’s as big as an adult thumb (1/2 inch), a rat can squeeze in! And if you think that’s crazy, how about the fact that if your credit card can fit under, so can a scorpion! It’s a great time to check and fix or replace worn-out weather stripping around all windows and doors. Also, check for any other gaps or holes around that can be an easy entry access for pests to invade your home. Eric Clapper, Tri-X Pest Management

Start with your yard. Make sure your landscaping and bushes are well-trimmed. This will increase airflow and decrease moisture that pests love. In the same way, trim back tree branches from the exterior of your home. Pests such as squirrels and rats use these overhangs to gain access to your roofline to get inside. Pro Active Pest Control

While most people know that sealing holes and gaps in their home and its foundation is an important step in preventing pests from moving in, there’s an often-overlooked measure – gutter cleaning. Gutters filled with leaves and other debris give pests such as mosquitoes, ants, and even mice a place to breed and multiply… and then take up residence inside your home! Having your gutters cleaned is a simple solution in preventing and eliminating a variety of pest issues year-round, both inside and out. Complete Pest Solutions

The most important, and most enduring, tip for pest-proofing your home this winter is exclusion. Exclusion is the process of sealing up your home to prevent rodents from getting inside. Give the exterior of your home a thorough inspection and seal up any possible entrance points like cracks in foundations or gaps in doorways. An adult mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime but, fortunately, an ounce of rodent prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Chris Ernst, Catchmaster

Keeping rodents out should be a concern to homeowners as the temperature drops. Let’s face it just like us rodents want a warm place to shelter down in the colder months and have all the food and water they need in your home. Take a walk around your home looking for entry points such as cracks and pipe ways sealing them with caulking and steel wool. The steel wool makes it difficult for rodents to chew through. The Pest Rangers

In the winter we typically see a big upsurge in rodent activity so be sure that your house is properly sealed against these pests. Check that all of your doors seal properly, especially garage doors as this is a common entry point. Don’t have firewood stacked up too close to the house as this not only attracts termites but rodents will also commonly nest in stacked firewood or other items left out in the yard. Doug Nolan, New Mexico Pest Control

During the wintertime, pests try to get inside your home because it’s warmer. The best advice we could give to keep them out, would be to make sure that the doorways and windows of your home are properly sealed with caulk or weatherstripping. Those areas are often neglected by homeowners and are the most often used areas by pests to enter the home. Watchdog Pest Control

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Ryan is on the marketing team at Redfin and loves writing data-driven articles about all things real estate. Ryan's dream home would be a Cape Cod-style house near the ocean and the mountains.

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