One unseasonably warm February morning while sitting at your kitchen table having cup of coffee number 2 (the required number just to get through the morning) you catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye. You looked again and noticed a tiny red bug flying against the window right where the sun was streaming through. You got up for a closer look and saw it was a ladybug. Your first thought was, “Aw, how cute!” Your second thought was, “Why are you in my house?” It turns out, that having one ladybug means you likely have hundreds of ladybugs in your home – or perhaps other, more dangerous pests. Suddenly, it isn’t so cute.
You might not have given much thought to where pests go when the weather cools. Though it’s true some species do die off leaving their eggs in a safe place to hatch in the spring, others look for a cozy spot to spend their winter months. This is known as overwintering. Insects such as ladybugs and box elder bugs, for instance, love to find entrance into those places in your home such as attics, crawlspaces, and inside your walls. True, these particular insects do not cause a terrible amount of damage, but they can make their way into the living spaces throughout your home on warm days, and even get confused thinking spring has come, leaving behind stains on furniture and curtains and odd odors that you can’t identify or remove. There are other pests that overwinter that can cause problems for a homeowner. Mice, ants, yellow jackets, flies, and spiders, just to name a few, which would love nothing more than to spend a few months with you. Unless you enjoy stinging, biting, and disease spreading houseguests, it is best to make sure that your home remains as uninviting as possible.
There are some things that you can do to discourage pests from entering your home. First, make sure that all open areas are buttoned up for the season. Replace or repair torn screens and weather stripping around doors and windows. Make sure that any gaps around pipes are caulked to prevent entrance to the house. Make sure any chimney grates are in good working order and leaking pipes and clogged drainage areas are fixed and dry. Any gutters should be cleared of debris; and wood piles, leaf piles, or other debris around your yard should be kept far from your house to prevent hiding spots. Before carrying wood into your home, make sure you look it over carefully. There could easily be hitchhikers in that wood waiting for their chance to get in. Keep all bushes and trees trimmed and away from siding or the roof. These become pest highways leading right to your home.
Next, you want to make sure that you have taken care of the inside as well. Any clutter that you have left around should be removed from your home. You can do yourself a huge favor by investing in plastic storage bins instead of boxes for stored items in the basement or attic. This keeps pests out of easy nesting material. You want to keep your kitchen clean and tidy at all times. Keep the floors swept and food put away, including pet food. Lastly, keep trash taken out and trash bins covered tightly.
These tips are very helpful in keeping overwintering pests outside, where they belong, but if you should find yourself opening the cupboard to evidence of unwanted pests activity, give Witt Pest Management a call. Our professionals will be at your door to help you solve any pest problem you might have and keep your home safe all year long.