Just like us, pests look for a warm home and good food as temperatures drop. Taking a proactive approach to protecting your family and home against pests this fall helps make it less daunting.
When making your seasonal housekeeping list (changing your smoke detector batteries, rotating ceiling fan blades), add pest prevention. Here are approaches to keeping pests away this fall and winter.
- Now is a good time to inspect your property and protect it. Rake fallen leaves and clean out gutters as pests can congregate in fallen foliage. (As an added benefit, this helps your home’s curb appeal. Numerous studies link landscaping and well-maintained lawns to property value increases.)
- Don’t bring in firewood from more than 10 miles away from your home. Invasive insects, such as the emerald ash borer, can hitch a ride and begin new infestations within their surroundings.
- At picnics or tailgating events, keep all open food in sealed containers to prevent attracting ants, mice and other insects and rodents.
- Roaches come into homes more in the fall. Keep sinks of dirty dishes and counters clear of open food. Exception: roaches hate bay leaves and dried mint — try putting some in a bowl on a kitchen counter. Deep-clean rooms, including washing drapes and vacuuming furniture. Pay special attention to cleaning roaches’ favorite spots, such as bathrooms and kitchen. There are numerous products on the market to get rid of roaches, including sprays, baits and traps, or you can hire a professional exterminator to periodically spray.
- Use caulk or concrete to repair all cracks, crevices and leaks no matter how small. Mice can fit through cracks as thin as a pencil. Caulking also will keep cold air out of your home, saving you money on your electric bill.
- Cover mattresses and pillows with dust-proof, zippered covers tested and rated for dust mites. Sheets and bugs can trigger asthma, cause dermatitis and transmit disease.
- Check for bed bugs who may be hitchhiking in your suitcase while traveling for the holidays. Bites can be painful, irritating and may cause allergic reactions (see sidebar).