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Residential Pest Control for the Autumn Months: Preparing for a Pest-Free Winter

spot the mouse in the woodpilePortland pest control service providers report that fall is the season when pests start squeezing through nooks and crannies in search of a warm place to nest during the cold winter months. Once they’re inside a home, these pests usually settle into a state of hibernation, waiting for the temperature to warm up so they can lay their eggs and bring a new generation of baby pests into the world. This pattern applies even in relatively temperate places like Portland.

Pest control service providers report that year-round residential pest control begins with a home pest inspection to find and seal off places where pests can enter a building. Homeowners can complete this inspection themselves or hire a Portland pest control service to carefully winterize their homes against pests. Here are some essential autumn pest control tasks to prevent your home from being invaded this winter:

1. Caulk windows. Rodents can squeeze through incredibly small gaps. A grown mouse, for instance, can fit through a dime-sized hole, and a rat only requires a hole the size of a quarter. These animals are limited only by the size of their skulls, which are the only body part they cannot collapse to fit through small spaces. Residential pest control best practices include walking around your home, looking for any holes that could be entry points for rodents. The areas around windows are especially susceptible to holes. As you winterize your home, caulk around the inside and outside of all windows.

2. Seal crawl space entries. Portland pest control service providers can vouch for the fact that crawl spaces often harbor pests. Check the entry to your home’s crawl space to and eliminate any gaps that could allow pests in.

3. Install door sweeps or weather strip entry doors. Mice, rodents and insects can often fit underneath doors. As you conduct your home pest inspection, take a close look at your home’s exterior doors. If there is any space underneath them, you should install door sweeps or even entirely new doors with weather strips to keep pests out all winter long.

4. Clear away all vegetation and debris from the areas around your home’s foundation. Just like humans, pests require food, water and shelter to survive. Vegetation in the area around your home serves as an enticing food source for insects, which may discover entry points into your home.

5. Seal cracks in your home’s foundation. This goes along with eliminating any cracks that pests might be able to squeeze through to avoid cold winter temperatures.

6. Screen or cap chimneys. Pests are persistent! Even if you seal off all cracks around the bottom portion of your home, they may be able to gain entry via the chimney. Nuisance birds are especially fond of this approach. Screening or capping your fireplace is therefore an excellent method of residential pest control.

7. Caulk any openings where exposed plumbing enters your home. You will also want to check for and seal any gaps around air conditioning units and other utility pipes.

8. Trim tree branches near your home’s exterior. Tree branches can act like bridges, allowing pests to gain entry to your home.

9. Store firewood off the ground and away from the house. Cockroaches and many other insects love to live in firewood, which provides protection from the winter elements. To prevent insects from infesting your firewood pile, Portland pest control service experts recommend storing it off the ground. You’ll also want to keep your firewood away from your home to reduce the likelihood that pests will migrate from the firewood to your residence.

10. Never leave food out in the open. Ants, cockroaches, rodents and many other pests are attracted to human food. Quickly clean up all food scraps to reduce the likelihood of pest infestations.

11. Screen outdoor vents. Rodents won’t be able to fit through exterior vents if you put up screens.

12. Secure all corrugated metal siding, trim and molding. These places are common entry points for pests.

The coldest time of year is an excellent time for “nesting.” Both humans and pests enjoy having a warm, safe nest for the winter months. Homeowners can enjoy their own pest-free domestic bliss by following the tips listed above. An added benefit of completing this pest control winterization is that your home will probably be better insulated against the cold once you’ve finished sealing off all cracks and holes.

[ photo by: ToddBF ]

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