How to Deal with Common Winter Pests

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Written by Guest | Last Updated February 5th, 2020
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Guest Post by Kristiana Kripena

Spring and summer may be the main seasons for pests, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a nuisance during the winter months as well. As outdoor temperatures drop, several species that live primarily outdoors start to flock inside in search of food and shelter. 

What are the most common winter pests that homeowners have to face? How can you get rid of them? This article will answer your questions.

winter mouse

Rats and mice

Rats and mice are common year-round pests that can be found in virtually every country on the planet. They can be especially problematic during the winter when the chilly outdoor temperatures and lack of food sources drive them inside. They often invade dark, enclosed spaces like crawl spaces, attics, and basements, and they frequent kitchens where they can feast on scraps of food.

If you have rats and mice in your home during the winter, you can try the following to get rid of them:

  • Set up traps. Mouse and rat traps come in all shapes and sizes. Some use a snap mechanism or an electric shock to kill rodents. Others are non-lethal and simply trap the creatures they catch. Lethal traps can be a highly effective way to kill large numbers of rats and mice in your home. Non-lethal contraptions are a great way to monitor your rodent situation.  
  • Use poison bait. There are a vast array of poison baits that are formulated to kill rats and mice, and these are often the go-to pest control option for those with large infestations.
  • Declutter your yard. Discarded boxes, piles of firewood, and overgrown shrubs and grasses can all provide hiding and nesting places for rats and mice and may encourage them to move in. If your yard is looking cluttered, throw away what you don’t need and store firewood, trash cans, and boxes at least six feet from the foundations of your house.
  • Block all gaps. Rats and mice can squeeze themselves through very small gaps. Perform a thorough inspection of your property to identify possible entry points (such as windows, doors, and drains) and get to work blocking them off and sealing holes.
  • Manage your trash carefully. Rodents usually come indoors looking for food. To best avoid them, make sure they don’t have access to it. Store all of your food in airtight containers or the refrigerator and keep food waste in sealed trash cans. Empty your household trash regularly, and keep outdoor garbage cans at least six feet from your house.

Clean open kitchen

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the world’s most common household pests and they can be especially problematic in winter. Roaches can’t survive the freezing conditions of winter in temperate regions, and will often come indoors to escape the hostile outdoors. These filthy creatures carry all sorts of harmful pathogens and can contaminate food. Getting rid of them should be your top priority.

If you find evidence of cockroaches in your home, you can try the following to exterminate them:

  • Set up traps and baits. Sticky traps not only kill roaches, but can also help to identify nesting sites. Poison baits are also effective for killing large numbers of cockroaches.
  • Clean your house thoroughly. If you discover roaches at home, the first thing you should do is to clean the area thoroughly. Cockroaches are often found in the kitchen where there is an abundance of food and water, so pay extra attention to the spaces beneath and behind appliances.
  • Attack them with bug spray. Once you’ve found where your cockroaches are nesting, you can kill a large number of them using an insecticide bug spray. These usually kill the insects on contact.
  • Dry out moisture sites. Cockroaches need a continuous water supply to survive, so drying out damp spots around your house is a great way to deter them. Check for leaking AC units, dribbling faucets, and blocked drains to identify possible moisture sites in your home.
  • Store food properly. Food waste can draw hoards of cockroaches into your home, so keeping your kitchen clean can help to keep them at bay. Clear up food spills and wash dishes promptly and store food waste in sealed containers. Empty your kitchen trash regularly and keep outdoor garbage cans closed at all times.
  • Hire a pest control service to ensure that cockroaches don’t come back. For help finding a pest control company near you, see here

Suitcase/luggage sitting by a chair

Bed bugs

Bed bugs numbers have risen in the United States as more and more cases are reported every year. Infestations usually start when live bed bugs are carried home in luggage. Those travelling to visit family or escape the cold weather during the winter months could be at risk.

If you discover bed bugs lurking in your sheets, try the following methods to get rid of them/prevent an infestation:

  • Launder your sheets. Bed bugs and their eggs are killed at high temperatures, so wash all your sheets (as well as anything else that may have come into contact with infested items) to exterminate them.
  • Spray them. Bed bugs can be killed using an insecticide spray. These can either be bought over the counter, or you can make your own at home using dish soap. Remember to spray quickly — bed bugs can move very fast and will run for cover when disturbed!
  • Check your luggage carefully after a trip. Stowing away in luggage is the number one way that bed bugs move from place to place. Check your belongings carefully after an overnight trip and don’t take them to your room until you’re sure there are no bugs hiding inside. If you’re unsure, wash everything on a high heat first to kill any insects or eggs.
  • Be wary of laundry and secondhand clothes. Laundry and bags of secondhand clothes can also harbor bed bugs, so inspect these items for signs of infestation before putting them among your other belongings.

The bottom line

Wintertime often means freezing temperatures that make it difficult for pests to survive outside. Rats, mice, bed bugs, and cockroaches often invade houses looking for food, water, and warmth.

Keeping your home pest-free is often best achieved by taking preventative measures. These may include keeping your kitchen clean, storing food waste properly, and sealing off possible entry points. If you do find yourself facing an infestation this winter, you may want to invest in traps, poison baits, and insecticide sprays to exterminate the pests.

Kristiana Kripena is the Digital and Content Marketing Director for InsectCop.net, an authoritative pest control advice blog that covers everything from getting rid of different insects to the best ways to protect yourself and your property from rodents and other critters.

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