The holiday season is finally here, and it is an exciting time of year! As you make your holiday to-do list, check it twice and schedule a time to prevent winter pests.
While you may invite friends and family into your home, you certainly don’t want to welcome pesky critters like roaches, bed bugs, and mice. Keep the pests out by implementing the expert prevention tips provided by the team at James River Pest Control.
Don’t let winter pests squash your joyous holiday season—Continue reading to discover how to prepare your home and yard for winter pest control.
Virginia’s Winter Pests
Chilly weather doesn’t mean the insects and critters disappear. Most of our local pests have unique ways of surviving this difficult time of year, which often involves hiding away in our homes.
Below are the five most common wintertime pests in Virginia. Get familiar with these creatures, so you can better prevent them from squashing your holiday season.
Bed Bugs- Some of the most prevalent pests in the winter are bed bugs. These tiny biting insects live indoors year-round. But in the winter, they spread faster than at any other time of year. This is because of the spike in holiday traveling, family vacations, and frequent gatherings. Bed bugs are known for hitchhiking from place to place on people’s belongings. Therefore, the winter is prime time for bed bugs to spread and rapidly reproduce.
Cockroaches– Indoor roaches also tend to increase in the winter. They often invade our homes to escape the chilly weather and search for food. Cockroaches quickly multiply, making infestations challenging to control. Additionally, they irritate asthma symptoms and cause allergic reactions. Even worse, they spread bacteria everywhere, causing illness for the household members.
Spiders- Spiders are resilient creatures who typically thrive through the winter. While they don’t need to enter your home to survive, they will likely follow other pests that wander indoors. Most spiders consume small insects, and in the winter, they tend to hide inside our homes to escape the chill. Therefore, the spiders will temporarily come inside to feast on their typical prey. More often, they only stay for a moment. However, they sometimes make a home inside.
Stink bugs- Stink bugs are likely the least of your worries regarding winter pests. They may be unwelcome in your home, but they aren’t considered a threat to humans. These little critters usually enter a phase called diapause to make it through the cold weather. During this time, their bodily functions slow significantly, almost like hibernation for mammals. So, they may sneak indoors, searching for a safe and warm place to sleep the winter away.
Rodents- Along with bed bugs, rodents are one of the most problematic winter pests. Mice and rats flee the winter chill by coming indoors to nest and reproduce. Unfortunately, these pests can spread disease, damage the home’s structure, and even cause house fires! They will chew through all kinds of materials, including electrical wires that may spark and start a fire.
Preventing Winter Pests
Now that you are familiar with some of the most prevalent pests during winter in Virginia let’s discuss how to keep them away! Use the following eight tips to prevent these problematic insects and critters from coming indoors, spreading disease, causing expensive damage, and putting you and your family at risk.
1 | Start Early to Prevent Winter Pests
Get an early start if you want the best chance at preventing pesky insects and rodents from getting indoors this winter. When summer passes and fall is in full swing, it’s the perfect time to begin prepping your home to keep the winter pests out. After all, keeping them out is much easier before they even make their way indoors.
Suppose you wait until the beginning of winter when the temperatures have drastically dropped, and the pests are rushing to find shelter, food, and water. In that case, you may be faced with an infestation before you even get the chance to prevent it.
Do yourself a favor and begin your winter pest prevention efforts before winter. You’ll thank yourself later when you enjoy the holidays in a pest-free home.
2 | Keep Your Yard and Home Tidy
Many pests are attracted to trash, clutter, and debris. Some find nutrition in the mess, while others see it as a suitable shelter for their winter nest. Whatever the case, one of the best ways to avoid infestations in the winter is to reduce the clutter indoors and outdoors.
Inside your home, you’ll want to first focus on areas like the attic, basement, garage, and crawlspace. Eliminate piles of junk and trash that may make for a good hiding spot for insects like roaches and spiders. In the living room, bedrooms, and kitchen, be sure to sweep or vacuum often. You should also clean up after spills and messes as soon as possible.
Outside, remove piles of yard debris, like leaves, branches, rocks, and wood. These areas attract insects and critters seeking shelter and warmth from the harsh weather. Also, keep all trash bins tightly sealed and regularly maintained. You’ll want to do the same with any food stored outdoors, like pet kibble or animal feed.
3 | Make Repairs to Keep Winter Pests Away
Keep winter pests out of your home by sealing any potential entry point. Inspect all around your home for damages, like small cracks and holes. Remember, insects and rodents are small and can easily squeeze through the tiniest openings.
Additionally, check around the chimney, vents, and plumbing fixtures. Inside the home, be sure the walls are intact and there are no leaks.
4 | Remove Excess Moisture
Like any living creature, winter pests need water to survive. Inside your home, reduce the amount of excess moisture by addressing plumbing issues promptly and using ceiling vents in moist areas, like the kitchen and bathroom. Try to keep standing water from remaining in the sinks, showers, or tubs throughout the home.
5 | Trim Bushes and Trees
Trimming bushes and trees eliminates welcoming shelter for winter pests. You want the bushes and trees to be a safe distance away from the home’s exterior. If you have hedges lining the house, ensure about two feet of space between the exterior wall and the foliage, and apply the same for tree branches. Tree limbs and plant branches act as a bridge for pests to travel from the greenery to the walls of your home and eventually find a hole to sneak inside.
Similarly, keep your lawn neat and tidy. Overgrown grass is an insect’s paradise.
6 | Change the Outdoor Lighting
It’s wise to swap your white outdoor lights for warmer tints. Insects are most attracted to lights with white, blue, or green hues. In contrast, orange, yellow, red, or pink tints will deter most insects. Keep the pests at bay by switching out cool-colored lighting for warmer tones.
7 | Use Natural Pest Control Methods
Natural pest control methods are one of the most sustainable and efficient ways to prevent infestations. While chemicals and traps may be a quick fix, using natural predators and planting the right flowers and vegetation is a better long-term solution.
You can introduce beneficial insects to your yard to keep pests under control. Depending on what pests you want to eliminate, consider the following insects:
- Ground beetles
- Green lacewings
- Damsel bugs
- Pirate bugs
Certain plants repel pests, too. Check out the plants below to maintain a pest-free yard:
8 | Call in the Professionals for Winter Pests
DIY pest control is often effective. However, your yard and home sometimes need a little more help to best prevent winter pests. For the most efficient pest control this season, call your local professionals. Even if you don’t suspect an infestation, it’s wise to have experts thoroughly inspect your home and yard for anything that may lead to a future infestation.
In fact, to maintain a pest-free property, schedule routine pest inspections two to four times a year.
Enjoy the Holidays with a Pest-Free Winter
This winter, get ahead of the game and contact James River Pest Solutions to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to face a chaotic infestation of roaches, spiders, or bed bugs amid the holidays.
This season, get the pests under control, so you can genuinely enjoy cherished time with your family and loved ones. Give James River Pest Solutions a call today to discover how we can help you work towards a pest-free holiday!