How to Pest-Proof the Home for Fall

Fall is an exciting time of year. School is back in session, the leaves change, and there are many holidays to look forward to. One troubling aspect of fall, however, is the appearance of household pests. Bugs, rodents, and other animals love to move into people’s homes in the fall to escape the cold. Keep them out this year with the following tips. 

Clean and organize the kitchen 

All pests, no matter the species, are drawn to kitchens because they are full of food. They can smell what you are cooking from outside. Before fall, do a deep clean inside the kitchen. Pull the refrigerator, oven, and microwave out and clean the surfaces beneath them. Dust, grease, and crumbs accumulate there over time. Then, empty out the cupboards and clean them thoroughly. Clean every surface in the kitchen.

When you are done cleaning, take this opportunity to organize your cupboards. Store pantry goods like beans, pasta, rice, and flour in sealed, plastic containers. This will help keep foods out of reach. Throw out anything that is expired and get in the habit of cleaning the kitchen on a regular basis. 

Seal entry points

It may seem like pests just magically appear in the house, but they found a way in. Look in and around the house for the following entry points and block them off: 

  • Gaps underneath the door frames. Mice frequently get inside by walking underneath the front door. If there is a gap one quarter of an inch wide or wider, close it off with a floor sweep or piece of weatherstripping. 
  • Cracks in the foundation. Insects will slither through these cracks, and rats will dig through them. Seal them shut with an epoxy sealer. If a crack is large, bowed, or horizontal, call a foundation specialist for help. 
  • Cracks in the window frames and door frames. Seal these cracks with a silicone caulking to stop insects from crawling in and out. This will also help insulate the home. 
  • Weep vents and wall vents. Mice and rats can chew through wall vents and squeeze their way through them to get inside the home. Wasps will also nest in the walls. Prevent this by covering your vents with steel mesh. You can purchase these in hardware stores or by contacting your local exterminator. 
  • Open windows. Check your window screens for holes and patch them up or replace the window screen entirely. Make sure that it fits well within the window frame. 
  • Gaps surrounding the utility lines. Stuff these holes with steel wool or expanding foam. You can also use mortar or silicone caulking. 
  • Gaps between vinyl siding. The siding of the home may split apart, creating openings for mice and other little critters to crawl into the house. Seal these shut with more silicone caulking. 
  • Space along the edges of the roof. Check for spaces between the soffits and the walls of the home, then examine the edges of the room for openings. Seal these with caulking or mesh. 

When you are done blocking off these points of entry, seal up any gaps you may have found in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house. Seal the gaps between kitchen cabinets, floorboards, or baseboards. This will reduce the number of hiding spots available in the house, so if you ever face a pest problem in the future, it will be easier to handle. 

Dehumidify the home

Basements and bathrooms are often humid, which attracts insects into the home. Purchase a hygrometer from the hardware store and check the humidity in those rooms. In the summer, you want the house to sit between 40-50% humidity. In the winter, it should be 30-40%. If you are dealing with high levels of humidity, consider getting a dehumidifier. Make sure that the home is properly ventilated and that your bathroom fans are in good working condition. 

Tidy up the yard

Pests and wildlife are attracted to yards where they can find food and shelter. Quiet, overgrown yards are ideal. Take some time this summer to tidy up the yard and do some maintenance. Pull weeds, trim bushes, cut vines, and get rid of any scrap lying around. Rake up the leaves, trimmings, and other debris and throw them out. Move wood piles away from the sides of the home. 

Clean out the gutters

Check if your eavestroughs need repairing and empty them out. Make sure that water drains through them and that there is no blockage. This should be done at least once a year. If your gutters are blocked, you risk flooding your basement or damaging the inside of the home. Squirrels may also come nesting in the eavestrough. Look for openings into the roof while you are up there, and seal them shut.

Hire an exterminator

If you come across any signs of an infestation, or if you are unsure of your pest-proofing skills, call an exterminator for help. Professionals, like the ones at Enviro Pest Control, eliminate pests quickly and efficiently. When dealing with larger animals, like raccoons, they can remove them without harm. They can also identify the entry points you may have missed and block them for you. The materials that professionals are strong enough to resist the chewing and tearing of animals and they last a long time.