Fall is finally upon us and so is this season’s crawl menaces. As the temperatures continue to drop and the nights draw in, pests are bound to make a haven out of your home. Sadly, many homeowners tend to overlook the signs of a pest infestation. Most common of them being strange rustling in the dead of the night, weird gnaw marks on your food packaging or droppings that aren’t from your pets. But if left unchecked, a pest infestation can leave your home damaged and your bank account dry.
According to the National Pest Management Association’s Fall/Winter Bug Barometer forecast, this colder season especially will bring a huge spike in most major pest populations. And since pests can not only be a health hazard and wreak havoc on your property and in your home but also cause more serious problems like house fires from damaged electric wires, keeping them at bay should be your top priority. And since prevention is always better and cheaper than a cure, here are some handy tips that will help you keep your home pest-free this fall season!
Check for Possible Entry Points
As fall sets in, it is the best time for you to give your home a rigorous check for any cracks and crevices that pest might use to get inside your home. Keep in mind that even the smallest gaps might be wide enough for certain pests to crawl through. Cockroaches, ants and even mice infestations are usually a result of easy entry points to pests into your home or business. Make sure to check your house top to bottom. And close all the holes you find as soon as you can.
The roof is another common entry point for pests. Consider replacing damaged roof tiles and filling up cracks with roofing cement. Also, if you have skylights, ensure that the casings are properly sealed and leak proof so nothing can get in. Since if any pests do manage to crawl inside your home, a few pests can quickly turn into a full-blown infestation that not even the best flea bombs and foggers can solve.
Just like Santa on Christmas, pests, especially birds and rodents, might use the chimney to make their way into your home. It is therefore essential to install a chimney cap on your chimney. It will allow the smoke from your fireplace or stove to escape but will also keep pests out of your chimney and therefore your home.
Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are the most vulnerable points of your house because they are used by pests to gain entry to your home the most commonly. Garage doors are usually the biggest culprit. How to combat this? Weather stripping your windows and doors is an efficient way of ensuring that pests are barred from making use of all the small gaps that might have opened up around your doors and windows. And if you live in a warmer climate where you can keep your windows open year-round, then make sure to fit screens to your windows and doors. Just remember to keep your screens in tip-top shape and fix any tears as they happen, since a screen will be only effective if it is intact.
You should also scan your sidings, foundation, and walls for any possible pest entry points. Loose sidings and cracks in walls should be sealed up to avoid pests crawling through them. And also, check for gaps in spots where pipes and electrical wiring enter your house. And if you do see any cracks that might be used by pests to get inside your house use something like acrylic latex caulk or any other product that you have on hand to fill up these gaps.
And lastly, plants and auxiliary structures next to the foundation, walls and other parts of your house might also be used by pests as bridges to gain access to your home. Branches which extend to the roof of the house should be trimmed. There should also be a significant distance between any plants and your home. And while you’re at it make sure that you store things like your outdoor garbage can and firewood as far from your house as you can, since these are huge attractants to many different pests.
Eliminate Pest Harboring Grounds Around your Home
As pretty as your backyard is, it also might be luring pests to your home, especially if you aren’t that good at keeping your yard in pristine condition. To prevent attracting even more pests to your home check your property for any moist areas, places that pests might use as protection from predators or unfavorable weather conditions and where they might be obtaining food and destroy them. Or at least make them undesirable for pests.
Overgrown vegetation such as grass and shrubs, woodpiles, dead leaves and all types of debris in your backyard might all be harboring many different pests. And stagnant water is another common place where you can find pests like mosquitoes and cockroaches, among others. As is wood pileups and old wooden structures. Make sure you remove all clutter from your yard, trim overgrown vegetation and clean out the rain gutters. Also get rid of any wet spots on your property. Check for any leaks in your plumbing system. And keep an eye on anything that’s wood in your landscape. Because this will go a long way of keeping the pests away from your landscape and therefore from your home.
Homemade Pest Control Remedies
But if you’ve been unsuccessful at preventing pests from attacking your home, there are only two options left for you. You can either kill them or drive them away. Luckily there are various products on the market that you can use to achieve either of these goals. However, if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on store-bought products, there are also some simple solutions that you can create at home that can also help you get rid of the pests in your home.
White Vinegar Ant Repellent
Once an ant makes its way to where you store your food, especially your sugary and oily foods, myriads of other ants are bound to show up. Because ants follow a specific trail that leads them to food or back to their nest. To get rid of this trail, just mix about a quarter cup of vinegar with a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil and two cups of water. Then spray this mixture directly on the ants or near the spots that the ants use to get inside your home. And voila, the ant trail has been disrupted and they will be less likely to keep invading your home.
Beer to Get Rid of Cockroaches
Cockroaches are a huge menace on their own, but when they infest your home, they are even more disgusting. Luckily, beer offers a simple solution to this problem. Roaches are naturally attracted to the smell of beer. With this in mind, there are various ways you can use beer to trap and kill the roaches in your home.
Simple and efficient traps can be created by pouring beer into bottles and then adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Place the bottles in different places of the house where you suspect cockroaches may be hiding. The cockroaches then will enter the bottles but won’t be able to escape. Once the roaches are inside, dispose of the bottles repeat the process until there are no more cockroaches.
Homemade Rat and Mice Poison
A homemade rat poison is a surprisingly efficient and safe way of getting rid of rodents. For this, you’ll need about 100 grams of plaster of Paris aka gypsum plaster. Mix it with an equal amount of cornmeal and then add one or two cups milk. Then knead the mixture until you achieve an even consistency. Finally, roll several balls of the mixture and place them near the rodent hideouts. The gypsum in the plaster gradually hardens when mixed with liquids, and if the rodents consume the balls before they harden it will kill them.
Dealing with a crisis caused by pests can be a costly and time-consuming affair. So, we hope that this pest-free fall guide will help you save both money and time and will spare you a headache that comes with dealing with a pest infestation.
Karen Thompson is the lead editor of InsectCop.net, an authoritative insect and pest control advice blog. She and her team research and test all the best ways to get rid of pests, so you can get rid of pests as quickly and efficiently as possible.