Now that autumn is here, there are few things more satisfying than escaping the wind nipping at your face as you hustle through your front door after a long day. But are you the only one enjoying the warm refuge of your house? If you think you’re the only one who sees a cozy shelter when you look at your house, think again, because as winter approaches there are many little pests who are interested in sneaking into your home.
Being “as quiet as a mouse” isn’t an idiom that came from nothing; most unwelcome visitors in your home don’t cause tremendous destruction, and oftentimes you don’t even know that they are there. However, there are some serious, negative effects that can take their tolls on your family’s health and safety as a result of pests like cockroaches and house flies. The more you know about the impact of unwelcome visitors in your home, the more seriously you can make an effort to keep them out.
Rodents LOVE kitchens full of tasty treats, especially as winter approaches and their food supply starts to wane outside. Rodent feces carries a number of incredibly dangerous diseases, such as salmonella and hantavirus, so that alone is a reason that you definitely don’t want them roaming around in your home. Additionally, these guys love to burrow, and have a tendency to cause major structural damage when a house’s support beams get in their way. Squirrels have a habit of nesting in walls and attics, bringing in dry leaves, then chewing on electrical wires and igniting house fires.
Cockroaches are gross, first and foremost. Don’t mistake these pests for being harmless just because they don’t bite; they carry a number of diseases, and their saliva is known to stimulate asthma, especially in young children.
Flies aren’t just a nuisance due to their obnoxious buzzing; they may potentially be carrying tuberculosis, typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhea! Flies are especially populous pests in the fall because they’ve been building up their armies all year long.
Don’t think you’ve escaped all the stinging insects that have plagued you all summer now that the seasons are changing; after having as many offspring as possible, there are now more yellow jackets, wasps, and bees than there is food, which creates serious hostility within their colonies. Now that they’re hungry and grumpy, they’re much more likely to sting in the fall, which is not only painful, but dangerous if they get someone who’s allergic.
PESTS: KEEP OUT!
How do you keep all these pests from wreaking havoc in your house, you ask? Here’s how!
Screens, screens, screens! Installing a sweep on all exterior doors will keep any unwelcomed pests from sneaking in under the door. Also repair any damaged screens, replace any that are mission, and cover all of your vents and chimney openings to block entry for critters.
Stay tidy and organized. Make sure you regularly empty all of your trash bins inside into outdoor, animal-proof garbage cans. Also be sure to store all food in airtight containers.
Seal up your foundation. Replace any mortar that’s come loose, and any of the weather stripping around your windows and foundation. Fix any leaking pipes or clogged drains, too! Seal any gaps surrounding pipes, electrical lines, and cable with caulk. If there are openings around your eaves or attic fans, seal them with wire or metal mesh, because that’s the only material that will stop pests like rodents from entering.
Don’t let them trick you into carrying them in. If you keep a woodpile outside for firewood, be sure to keep it at least 20 feet from the house, and check the wood thoroughly before bringing it inside. Pests have a tendency to nestle into piles of firewood for warmth, and you might accidentally bring them right into your home!
Regularly clear out your gutters. Squirrels love to nest in gutters, and their buildup of leaves and other debris can clog your gutters and cause serious water damage. Cleaning out the debris regularly, and keeping tree branches trimmed so they don’t hang over your roof, and covering downspout holes with wire mesh will prevent potential costly damage.
Be careful! When you’re pest-proofing your house, be sure you’re working in spaces with good lighting, because you may encounter some creatures who have already found their way in. While most of these intruders aren’t poisonous, various types of spiders and insects may be, and if you spook them and they feel threatened, they may attack. Always fully inspect boxes that have been packed up for a while before you pick them up or get particularly close to them.
Not only will taking the necessary preventative measures to protect your home and family from autumn pests keep your house clean and your family safe, but it can potentially save you from expensive repair costs. The only guests you should be focused on entertaining this holiday season are the ones who come bearing gifts wrapped in shiny paper or in the form of food and wine, not the critters who try to live in your walls.