As the weather turns colder, pesky insects and critters will be attracted to your home as their seasonal nesting place. These pests in your home can pose as anything from a mild irritation to an actual health risk for you and your family. The best treatment is to take preventative action; once they get in, they can multiply quicker and be difficult to remove. Here are a few pest control tips for winter to help keep your home safe from pest invasion.

Seal the Cracks

Before bad weather hits, take a walk around the outside of your home to check for cracks or openings where pests can get in. Mice can squeeze through very small openings, and larger animals can sneak in under the eaves through a rotten or broken structure area. Take care of those problems before the pests find their way in.

Close the Chimney

If you have a working fireplace, remember to close the flue. Small animals like birds, rats, squirrels, and bats can enter a home by coming down the chimney and into your living room or wherever the hearth is. Have the chimney cap checked to ensure it is still intact and doing its job of protecting the chimney from pest invasions.

Sometimes flying insects build nests in chimneys, so those may need to be removed by pest control experts before starting a fire in the cold months to prevent their coming into your home. While they’re there, have them look for any other pests that might have already snuck in.

Don’t Leave Food Sitting Out

Pests need a steady food supply and will head straight for any crumbs or open-air foods sitting out. Store dry goods in closed containers, and keep open foods in the fridge. Remove crumbs from kitchen counters and the stovetop. Vacuum the rugs, and sweep the floors to remove crumbs and food bits that can attract mice and insects. Don’t let the kids leave uneaten snacks overnight in the family room or bedroom, where pests’ sharp sense of smell is likely to find them.

Repair Water Leaks

An available water source is also important to most invaders, and they often nest or colonize in bathrooms or kitchens, along with basements, if there is a regular water source or occasional dripping. Check to be sure your plumbing is intact, and call a plumber if there are signs of water leakage, not only to repel pests but also to protect your home from cumulative water damage.

Keeping your home free of intrusive bugs and mammals will help you enjoy the winter months even more. Take preventative steps to keep them out before cold weather sets in.

By Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing.

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