Topics:Garden Pests Pest Identification Pest Control Products Pest Salesmen Pest Companies Pest Prevention DIY Pest Control Pest Elimination pest control
Guest Post by Alexandra Arcand Imagine this: You’re just trying to enjoy your home, relax and unwind, and suddenly, the unthinkable happens. A bug wiggles its way out from some unseen crevice and you instantly panic. It doesn’t belong here. Your home is clean. You sweep your floors and take the trash out. You don’t leave food lying around. Why in the world did this gross little creature decide to take up residence in your home? And even worse, how many friends did he bring along with him? Bugs in your home can make you feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even dirty. But the reality is plenty of people have bugs in their home. Bugs want the same things we want, a warm place to stay with food and water, things your home so conveniently offers. Bugs aren’t ones for social graces either. If they see a place that can give them what they want, they’re going to welcome themselves in. And while we’re all trying to avoid pest control bills and keep our housing budgets in check, there are some inexpensive measures you can take to keep these bugs out. They’ll even give your home a splash of life. These are the best house plants you can keep around to make sure those creepy crawlers find another floor to wiggle across: 1. Basil Basil is a great plant to keep in your home if you’re wanting to repel pesky insects. It helps keep away flies, mosquitos, and spiders. Keeping your basil alive and well is easier than you might think. They typically need about six to eight hours in a nice sunny spot. Keeping the soil moist is also a big factor. Check on your plant every day or so with a finger to the soil. If it feels dry, give your plant a little water. Bonus, basil is also amazing in food! So, you’re not only keeping those bugs away, but getting some awesome flavor while you’re at it. Basil seeds are easy to find on sites like Amazon and other online retailers, so there’s no stress getting started with this low-maintenance herb. 2. Chrysanthemums Chrysanthemums are not only beautiful to look at; they’re also a huge help in keeping the bugs away. Chrysanthemums repel roaches, ants, ticks, lice, and bedbugs. They’re a great help to have around the house. These plants can thrive in low light when kept inside, but make sure to take proper watering care. Water them below their leaves and make sure not to give them too much. There are all kinds of flower delivery companies that will have these beauties in stock, so you’ll never have to worry about planting them from seeds. 3. Lavender With lavender's wonderful calming scent and beautiful color, there are plenty of reasons to keep it around your home. Lavender also repels spiders, fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. Keeping your lavender alive requires some attention, as this plant does need a good amount of sunlight and fresh air. It also needs the soil to dry between watering, but be careful not to let it get too dry or the lavender will begin to wilt. This plant is a bonus because it also has anti-inflammatory benefits, promotes better sleep, and can relieve headaches. So, while you relax with your lavender, take an extra deep breath knowing it’s keeping bugs at bay. 4. Catnip You might not be a cat lover, but this plant has some amazing benefits for your kitty-free home. However, if you are a cat lover, you might enjoy having this plant around just as much as your furry friend does. Catnip contains an essential oil that is extremely powerful at repelling mosquitoes. This oil, called nepetalactone, is ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than the leading ingredient in bug sprays. This plant is good for more than repelling mosquitoes, though. It’s also good at keeping cockroaches and flies away. To keep this plant alive and working its magic, be sure to place it in a nice sunny spot and give it a steady supply of water. You can always find catnip seeds on sites like eBay and other online retailers. 5. Mint Mint is a great plant to keep in your home because it’s a two for one. Not only does mint have potential for great things like helping to relieve indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome, it also helps repel bugs. Insects like flies, fleas, spiders, and ants don’t enjoy mint’s aroma so they will stay away if you keep this plant around your house. To thrive, your mint plant will need plenty of good sunlight and evenly moist soil. Make sure to check on your plant and water when the soil begins to feel dry. 6. Citronella If you have a problem with mosquitos, we’ve found your answer. Similar to the candles found in stores, but much safer for you to use, the citronella plant works wonders at keeping the little bloodsuckers away. Mosquitos are not fond of the odor this plant produces, thus making them steer clear of your home if citronella is around. To keep your citronella plant alive and kicking, make sure it has plenty of sunlight and don’t let it get too hot. When watering, be careful not to over water. Check the soil often and water once it begins to feel dry to the touch. 7. Rosemary Rosemary is great if you’re wanting to keep away spiders, flies, and mosquitoes; they find this herb's aroma to be off putting. Not to mention, there are tons of recipes in your cookbook that would benefit from some fresh rosemary getting thrown in. If you want to keep your rosemary thriving, avoid overheating it, but make sure to give it six to eight hours of good sunlight a day. When the soil for the plant is completely dry, it’s time to water again. Just be sure not to over water. 8. Lemon balm If you have fruit flies or spiders, you need lemon balm. This plant repels both while also being a great addition to your kitchen. It can be used for a hint of lemon to your drinks or meals. Lemon balm does not require strong sunlight to thrive, but five or so hours a day will not hurt it either. When watering, make sure to saturate the roots of the plant and then water again when the top of the soil becomes dry. Alexandra Arcand writes for ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and has a passion for gardening. Although her knowledge of plants is large and ever expanding, her gardening skills continue to remain amateur.
When to hire pest control services If you are one of those people who thinks it is too early in the year to worry about pest control, you may want to think again. Depending on the temperature you could have visitors in your home earlier than you would expect. Recent projections suggest that you have your home sprayed, or spray yourself, starting in March. The ideal window will come and go before we know it. If you are looking for ideas for pest control services in your area, check out these pest control providers. You may also want to read some of the recent customer reviews provided to ensure you get all of the services you need. “Pest control products or services should be health-conscious, safe, effective, and convenient.” — Stephanie Boone, Founder of Wondercide How to choose a pest control service Are pest control companies that come door-to-door worth it? It is always advisable to research the companies you do business with. Yes, research can take time and effort, but in the end, it will help you get the best bang for your buck as you work to eradicate pests from your home. Mike Duncan, Eastern Region Trainer and Entomologist with Truly Nolen, suggests considering the following things as you research pest control services: Do they perform background checks on their employees? Are they trained and registered with the regulatory agencies to perform services? Do they carry Workers Comp Insurance? Asking these questions will help you avoid paying excessive fees for poor services. Duncan adds, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is not a good deal.” Pest control on a budget Though some pest control services are not outlandishly expensive, you can take some steps on your own to protect your home. For example, you could look into investing in an electronic pest repeller. Stephen Hochman, Owner and Founder of Trusty Joe shares that these small devices, which can be plugged into standard wall outlets, are able to scatter bugs in two different ways: By emitting ultrasonic sounds which irritate pests and cause them to leave the house By sending electronic vibrations through the wiring behind the walls which also causes pests to panic and flee the home DIY solutions Who doesn’t like a good DIY project? There are many DIY options to help you get rid of pests in and around your home. Let’s start by identifying what you will need to have on hand in order to effectively get rid of your pesky pests. Safety equipment Though there are ways to DIY pest control, you should take extra precautions to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your pets. Nikki Anca, Customer Consultant with Topbest suggests investing in the following safety gear to keep you safe: Mask Disposable nitrile gloves Goggles Disposable coveralls Basic pest control products If you are planning to research all of the pest control products on the market, you will have your hands full. To help you get some ideas, Anca has provided this list of products that you may want to keep on hand: Insecticide — long residual activity to kill insects and bugs Rodenticide — long residual activity to poison mice, rats, or other rodents that attempt to enter your home Traps — Non-toxic insect glue traps, mice glue traps, and rat glue traps Insect baits — an effective solution to have a low environmental impact for eliminating ants and roaches, particularly the German Roach Organic products — non-repellent insecticides/termiticides are the most effective means of structure protection for ants and termites “Plants that naturally repel insects are Marigolds, Citronella grass, Petunias, Lavender and one of the best is Chrysanthemums. Some herbs that can be planted that will help are Mint, Basil, Chives, Bay leaves, Garlic, and Rosemary.”— Mike Duncan, Eastern Region Trainer and Entomologist with Truly Nolen Plants to the rescue There are a number of plants that act as natural repellents. If you have noticed that you have a lot of mosquitos, spiders, cockroaches, beetles, ants, or other bugs in your yard or home, a simple solution could be planting some well-known plants. Lavender — Anca suggests that you plant this in sunny areas of the garden or near entryways to your home to help keep them pest-free. Mint — Mint is known for helping reduce the number of mosquitos in your yard. Eucalyptus — Kari Warberg Block, Founder and CEO of EarthKind suggests bringing sprigs of eucalyptus into your home to repel spiders. Other — Duncan also recommends trying chrysanthemums, marigolds, citronella grass, and petunias. Indoor pest eradication One of the biggest challenges that you may face as you work to decrease the number of insects, bugs, and vermin that end up in your home, is finding out where they are getting in. At times, even when you hire a company to come in and bug-proof your home, the process can be exhaustive. Some basic solutions recommended by Matteo Grader, Pest Control Technician with Panther Pest Control, include installing or repairing screen doors, filling holes and/or cracks with caulk, and keeping your spaces clean. Warberg Block adds, “Arguably the most important thing you can do yourself is keep a clean home environment. Pests and rodents come in for food and shelter – and not taking out the trash, leaving out dirty dishes and food, and keeping clothes on the floor is one way to create an inviting environment for them.” “The point of pest control is to protect the ones you love, so using products that have harmful ingredients and toxins in them like permethrin, pyrethroids imidacloprid or fipronil is counter-intuitive.” — Boone Natural alternatives: Better for you and your pets Traditional flea and tick products contain chemicals known to be toxic for people, pets, and the environment. “These synthetic chemicals include permethrin, pyrethroids imidacloprid, fipronil and DEET,” said Boone. She adds, “most people don't realize pest control products are inhaled, absorbed through the skin, and ingested without visibility or awareness because you can’t see it, taste it, or smell it.” Just because synthetic pest control solutions are common does not mean that they are safe when accidentally ingested or inhaled. To counter this issue, products like Wondercide have been created from high-quality, food-grade ingredients that help keep you and your pets healthy. Another solution that was launched as recently as 2018 is First Saturday Lime. Similar to Wondercide, it is eco-friendly and keeps you away from pesticides. Jana McDaniels, CEO of First Saturday Lime recommends using it for the following: Creating a pest barrier around your home Controlling ticks, mites, and fleas around outdoor dogs, chickens, and horses Repelling unwanted pests in your garden Repelling pests and controlling moisture and odors in crawl spaces If you end up using a product like these, it is likely that a monthly application will help keep your home pest free year-round. Bonus tips If you have spiders, ants, or moths in your house, this is just for you. These tips are provided courtesy of Warberg Block. Tips to keep spiders out: Remove spiderwebs and use a spray made of half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of water, two tablespoons of liquid dish soap and twenty drops of thyme oil to keep them from creating new webs. The scented mixture prevents them from attaching their silk to sprayed surfaces. Spiders rely on vibrations they feel in their web to detect an insect that could be their next meal. Turn music on in an area where you’ve spotted spiders and the vibrations will interfere with their ability to pick the perfect time to feast. They’ll quickly leave in search of a quieter spot. Spiders prefer to hang out in dark places. Notice an area of your home where spiders are weaving their webs? Leave the lights on and they’ll be looking for a new hideaway. Tips to keep ants out: To deter ants, sprinkle coffee grounds outside to keep them away from your gatherings. The smell repels them and they’ll be looking for a less caffeinated place to hang out. Cinnamon acts as a natural repellent and is a dermal irritant to ants. Sprinkling cinnamon on surfaces where you’ve seen ants congregate will leave them traveling toward sweeter surroundings. Ants see citrus as the enemy. Citrus peels are toxic to the fungi that ants feed on, so save your lemon, lime and orange peels and spread them around the areas they usually invade! Talcum powder is another great natural ant repellent. Use chalk or baby powder to Warberg Block their entryway by drawing a thin line; they won’t cross it! Tips to keep moths out: Washing or dry-cleaning items that moths are attracted to, such as natural fibers, before storing them can reduce the likelihood of moth infestations. This will remove any existing moth eggs or larvae as well as remove any biological residue such as sweat, hair, or body oils which moths find attractive. Store items in air-tight storage bags or totes rather than cardboard boxes to protect against moths. Moths may like your pretty sweaters, but they’re not crazy about certain pretty scents. To naturally repel moths, try this DIY solution. Place cloves, lavender, or dried orange peels in a sachet bag. Then place it in your closet or dresser drawers.The scent will send them looking for a more welcoming home. It’s not just your cozy sweaters they’re after. Moths are just as likely to snuggle up on your sofa, armchair, or carpet. If you see signs of an infestation, use a hair dryer on the highest heat setting and slowly move it over the fabric. The hot air will quickly take care of unseen eggs. How to avoid pests while traveling Have you ever arrived at a hotel, unpacked, and headed to bed to find that your bed is infested with bed bugs. I know. It sounds like it should be a crime, but it happens every so often. Before sleeping in a bed or unpacking your belongings, Leah Hazelwood, Vice President and Marketing with Go-Forth Pest Control, advises that you check the mattress, bed sheets, and headboard for signs of bed bugs like blood spots. If you find any of these signs, you should certainly alert the hotel (and hopefully get some reimbursement out of it). Once you are back home, vacuum your suitcases and throw away the vacuum bag or clean the canister well. Make sure that you wash all of the clothing that was inside your suitcases in hot water to kill any bugs that might have hitched a ride home. Pest control is not a one-time event; it is an on-going process. Every little thing that you do should help it become less prevalent in your life. If you wait until tomorrow to start, imagine how many more pests may be eagerly waiting to join your family.
As the winter season arrives, people start turning on heaters and bundling up for the next few months. While we’re getting ready for the holidays, those pesky unwanted pests are doing some winter prepping of their own. A common misconception is that when winter comes pests either die off or disappear. However, quite the opposite is true. While you are hard at work making your home as cozy as possible, all sorts of bugs and pests are planning their next move. Your home makes the perfect spot for pests to thrive in, with plenty of food, water, and shelter from the harsh weather conditions. The best part for them is they don’t have to do any of the work. So, how can you stop these troublesome pests from ruining your winter haven?We asked six pest control experts what pests to be on the lookout for, suggestions on what to do and what not to do, and how homeowners can keep pests out of their home this winter. What pests should homeowners be watching for? “The primary pests to look out for during the season change include spiders, centipedes, rats, and mice. For example, spiders and centipedes become more present indoors because their food source (i.e., other insects) retreat inside where they can avoid the cold and continue to live and develop. As a result, homeowners need to be aware of the other insects which can also thrive indoors during winter. These include flies, moths, cockroaches, ants (those that specifically nest indoors), earwigs, and millipedes.”Trent Frazer, Aptive Environmental“Rodents are, at one time or another, a problem for nearly a third of American homeowners. Rodents don’t need much space to get inside homes. Rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter, and mice through a hole the size of a dime, so it is easy for them to find access into homes.”Jerry Lazarus, Braman Termite & Pest Elmination“Both gray and flying squirrels are known to seek shelter in attics, exterior walls, and even between floors using insulation as nesting material. In addition to the damage their chewing and nesting can cause, squirrels can be carriers of fleas and other unwanted organisms that can infest the entire home once brought inside.Raccoons: these masked bandits live in a constant search for food and shelter. They use their very adept hands to open garbage cans, remove siding and even tear off shingles. Categorized as an extremely dangerous and destructive pest, raccoons can cause structural damage to a home and infest living spaces with fleas and parasites. They are also known to carry rabies.Cockroaches are definitely one of the most common and dangerous pests on our list. They have the potential to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. The saliva, droppings, and decomposing bodies of cockroaches also contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children.Roof rats were not even found in many southern states 20 years ago, but they are now one of the most frequent home invaders. Typically, tree dwellers, roof rats look for high places to nest inside structures including soffits and attics to survive the winter. Like all rodents, they reproduce very quickly, making them nearly impossible to control without the help of a professional.”Charlie Jones, Arrow Exterminators What can homeowners do to keep pests out of their home? Seal cracks and crevices“To keep pests out of your home this winter, inspect the perimeter of your home. Look for any cracks or crevices that need to be sealed. Seal gaps near plumbing services or electrical wires entering your home, and fix any screens that may be broken.”Jameson Bevans, TruForce Pest ControlEliminate stagnant water“Ensure there are no moisture leaks throughout the home. Leakage creates stagnant water and/or dampness causing a humid micro-environment where pests can thrive. Check under sinks, around air conditioning units, under dishwashers and laundry machines, as well as in bathrooms for any potential leaking. This includes cracks in caulking around bathtubs and toilets.” Trent Frazer, Aptive EnvironmentalMove firewood away from the house“A common issue, especially in colder regions, is storing firewood against your home, as it is more convenient for the homeowner. However, pests, who initially seek shelter in the firewood, will eventually make their way into your home. Our best advice is to not store firewood, or any other debris against your home, and to elevate the firewood as best possible, 12-18 inches off the ground.” Jameson Bevans, TruForce Pest ControlClear debris“Ticks thrive in damp, shaded environments and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Clear out parts of the home where debris gather and relocate compost piles away from high traffic areas. Also, keep the lawn short and eliminate leaf litter.”Deer-proof the yard“There are many species of ticks, but only the black-legged, or deer ticks carry Lyme disease. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.”Consistently groom family pets“Pets are prime targets for ticks. They latch onto animals' skin and hide underneath their fur, going incognito and making it easy for pets to bring them into homes.”Amy Lawhorne, Mosquito SquadCheck storage containers“Before bringing boxes of holiday décor out of your attic or basement, inspect them for signs of an infestation such as gnaw marks and rodent droppings. Once the holidays are over, and it's time to pack away the decorations, make sure they are stored in a plastic box with a sealed lid. This will prevent rodents from making your out-of-season décor their new home.”Jerry Lazarus, Braman Termite & Pest EliminationDouble check the bathroom“Inspect your bathroom carefully, including the pipes. Check the bathroom fan; sometimes if there isn't a net on the fan, cockroaches can pass through it and come inside.”Matteo Grader, Panther Pest ControlDon’t feed the pests“Ensure no food is available to pests. This includes crumbs, open food containers (including containers that aren't fully sealed), oil residue around the stove, food residue in the oven, forgotten food in the back of the pantry, and pet food that may have accidentally spilled onto the floor or shelf where it is kept.” Trent Frazer, Aptive Environmental What Should Homeowners Not Do? “Don't rely on DIY methods too much. Cockroaches and bedbugs are extremely hard to get rid of without professional help.”Matteo Grader, Panther Pest Control“If you find your home infested, do not place traps, bait, or other chemicals where pets and children may be present. This seems like an obvious tip, but we often see this when we're called in after DIY treatments have failed.” Jameson Bevans, TruForce Pest Control“We recommend you contact a pest control professional for the removal of wildlife such as mice, rats, raccoons, opossums, and squirrels. These wildlife intruders can spread bacteria and transmit diseases, so you should never handle them on your own. Your home should receive treatment for pests such as termites, ants, and cockroaches on a regular basis by a pest professional.”Charlie Jones, Arrow Exterminators“A few pest control don'ts include not placing snap traps for rats and mice without proper training — as children and pets may be at risk. Also, remember to take great caution handling and storing pesticides yourself. Sadly far more poisonings occur with children getting into their parent's stored chemicals than from professional pest control applications. It will always be the most effective and safest to hire a licensed pest control service professional.”Trent Frazer, Aptive EnvironmentalKeeping your house free of winter pests may require extra time and preparation, but being able to enjoy the holiday season pest-free is well worth it.If you’ve tried all of these tips and are still having trouble with pests, take a look out our top-rated pest control companies and hire a pest control professional to get rid of those pesky winter critters.
Ah, summer. For many of us, ‘tis the season for backyard barbecues, running barefoot through sprinklers, and enjoying the fruits of our labors in vegetable or flower gardens. However, it’s also a time when outdoor pests such as grubs and chinch bugs can wreak havoc in our yards, sabotaging our efforts to maintain beautiful lawns and gardens. If you’ve noticed sections of yellow, brown, or dry grass in your yard, it could be a sign of these unwelcome guests. But if you’re not quite ready to call in professionals to assess your yard for pests, here are some potential problems to rule out along with solutions to try: 1. Water smarter Periods of drought will obviously take a toll on otherwise-thriving grass. But if you notice that your neighbor’s yard seems to be faring better than yours despite the environmental conditions, troubleshooting your watering system may do the trick. Test your automatic sprinkler system for gaps in coverage and replace broken sprinkler heads. Change your watering schedule from frequent, shallow waterings to a heavy watering once or twice a week, allowing water to deeply penetrate the soil. It is better to water early in the day, so the water penetrates the soil but blades of grass do not remain wet for an extended time. 2. Test soil quality Sometimes a difference in grass coloration within the same area can be attributed to roots or debris affecting the soil quality as well as compacted soil from foot traffic. If you think that might be the case, test the soil hardness of a spot with green grass compared with that of the brown grass using a rake or shovel. If trees are nearby, a root system could be interfering with that particular section of soil. Rocks, sand, chunks of cement, or other debris could also be beneath the surface. To remedy this problem in large sections of grass, you can aerate the soil, add quality organic matter, and reseed. For smaller sections, simply top dress the grass with ½ inch of quality soil and spread until grass ends are visible. 3. Eliminate weeds Even with seemingly abundant water and healthy soil quality, would-be lush grass can wither when pesky weeds steal water and nutrients. Pulling weeds manually is a good place to start for the short-term, but getting the roots up can prove difficult, so preventative action for future seasons is more effective. Prevent weed seeds from germinating with a do-it-yourself pre-emergent herbicide or work with a professional lawn care company. 4. Mow with care If you’ve noticed your lawn health began declining when mowing season began, your mowing habits could be a factor. Do the edges of your grass blades have split ends that are brown and dry? Dull mower blades could be the culprit, so replace blades for a clean cut. And be aware that cutting a lawn too short can cause stress, weakening your grass. As a general rule, never remove more than ⅓ of the total grass blade at one time, and keep your grass at least 3 inches long. 5. Dilute waste or spills Gasoline spills, chemical spills, salt residue from ice melt, and animal urine can sometimes account for patches of dead grass. Aside from attempting to minimize future grass contact, it can help to frequently flush the affected area with water to dilute the acid, saline, or other contaminating substance. Incorrect use of fertilizer can also mess with lawn health, such as bad timing, uneven application, or spills, so if you’re applying it or other treatments yourself, do so with care. 6. Treat disease Disease-causing fungi are something no homeowner wants to deal with, but it may be your reality if you’ve observed unusual lawn symptoms such as stunted growth, leaf lesions or brown patches, bleached turf, or fairy ring. To avoid spreading a fungus, mow unaffected areas first and clean blades after mowing diseased areas. And while it is preferable to prevent disease (by aerating and dethatching your lawn and other lawn maintenance procedures) than treat it, fungicides can kill certain diseases. For optimal chances of success in eradicating disease, have your grass properly diagnosed by a lawn care professional or take a sample of the diseased grass to your local university extension office, run by the land grant university in each state. Many states’ extension programs run turf diagnostic tests for a small fee. 7. Eradicate insects If you’ve ruled out some or all of the problems listed above, chances are good that lawn pests are lurking in your previously-pristine grass. The list of potential lawn pests is long enough to make anyone’s skin crawl, but some pests can be ruled out based on the region in which you live. Chinch bugs and mole crickets attack warm-season grasses (such as St. Augustine grass and zoysia grass) primarily in the South, including tropical areas, but also appear in the desert Southwest, Mountain West, and High Plains. European crane flies heavily infest cool-season grasses (such as fescue grass and Kentucky bluegrass) of the Pacific Northwest but can also be found in New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New England. Grubs, or the larval form of a number of beetles, infest all regions of the United States, feeding on the roots of grasses from spring until fall. To test for grubs yourself, try to lift a piece of your dry grass. If the piece of grass comes up easily and can roll up like a carpet, it’s likely that grubs have eaten the grassroots. By cutting out a cross section of the grass and soil, you’ll probably see the ½ inch white grubs munching away happily. The best time to treat lawn grubs is between midsummer and early fall, when grubs are immature. Otherwise, the grubs will mature and mate, laying more eggs, which grow into more grubs. If you’re dealing with grubs or another insect problem, look into getting a lawn-specific pest control company on your side so you can enjoy luscious green grass again!
The winter months represent something different to everyone, but for most of us, the season is both a time of reprieve and a time of giving. As wintertime relates to pest control, these sentiments could not be more true — the gift winter brings us is a reprieve from most common household pests. A recent look at Google's trending pest control searches reveals something interesting. Searches for how to get rid of common household pests spiked every year during the summer, and were almost non-existent during the winter months. But these trends may not necessarily come as a surprise to you. Think about it: If you live in a part of the world that actually dips below freezing during the winter, how many ants do you see? The fact is, people aren't searching for "how to get rid of" any of these pests during the winter months, because for the most part, they're largely nowhere to be found. But why? It's not like they all get killed off when the weather gets too cold. If that were true, we wouldn't see such huge spikes during the summer, right? These trends reveal a problem with how we approach pest control: we don't really care about prevention so much as addressing the symptoms of a pest infestation. Really the best way to get rid of common household pests is to stop them from even gaining entry into your house. And wintertime is the perfect season to do so.So where do they go? And more importantly, how do you keep bugs out of your house in the winter? Spiders Ranking among the most fear-inducing household pests is the spider. What many people fail to realize, however, is that spiders might also be the answer to how to get rid of other household pests. Spiders tend to set up shop on the ground, in corners, or behind furniture not to seek refuge, but because they are ideal hunting and trapping spots. The main thing attracting spiders to your house is all the other pests and insects that sneak their way inside. So, if you want to see fewer bugs, let the spiders stay. But if you want to see fewer spiders, we can help you there as well. Where do spiders go in the winter time? Of the roughly 35,000 spider species throughout the world, only a small percentage of them are adapted to indoor climates, meaning they are dependent upon a constant temperature and shelter from the elements for their survival. While some spiders simply die during the winter months, most other spiders will burrow into the ground and enter a hibernation-like state until the weather warms up again. Kristiana Kripena from InsectCop.net shares information about spiders that are seen within the home during the cold winter months: "Since spiders are cold-blooded creatures the spiders you're seeing inside your house in the winter most likely have been there all year. As for where do indoor spiders like the house spider go in the winter when spiders sense the cold season approaching female spiders seek more secluded areas of your home with less foot traffic such as crawl spaces and storage areas to lay their eggs there." How to keep them from coming back The best way to prevent a spider infestation from happening is to make sure your home isn't a target for the critters that spiders like to eat. Remember, spiders are nomadic predators; they go to where the food is. So, keep out the bugs and you'll keep out the spiders. Alexander Crawley, an Entomology consultant at Fantastic Pest Control, shares another effective method to prevent spiders in your home: "Many love the smell of peppermint, eucalyptus and tea-tree oils, but spiders do not. You can spray around windows and doors. You can also plant peppermint and spearmint and place the containers in strategic locations. Lemons, oranges and grapefruit smell is also terrible to spiders. You can use peeps and spread them around the house. Keep in mind, you need to replace them every few days, as they dry out and lose efficiency." Cockroaches Where do roaches go in the winter? While less common than spiders, the American cockroach nevertheless represents a major problem in most southern states, California, and of course, New York. To many, roaches are synonymous with both filth and the phrase "hard to kill." Unlike spiders, cockroaches largely rely upon tropical or humid conditions for their survival. Simply put, even though you might not seek roaches in the wintertime, they are likely in hiding, awaiting warmer climates. Do roaches hibernate in the winter? A humid, tropical climate is crucial to a cockroach's survival. So if you live in a place with colder winters, chances are this household pest will hang out in shower drains, interior walls, or in basements. Like spiders, some cockroach species are able to hibernate should temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Really, the best way to prevent a cockroach infestation in your home is to identify these high-traffic areas and work to keep the roaches out of them. The only way cockroaches can survive the winter is by living inside your home. How to keep them from coming back Something important to understand is the incredibly robust nature of the cockroach. Most insect sprays will not work on them, which is largely how they've developed a reputation as unkillable. Cockroaches come to your home seeking food, shelter, and a place to lay eggs. By eliminating these necessities, you'll be able to enjoy a cockroach-free summer: Food — We can't emphasize enough the importance of cleaning up after yourself; nothing spurs a roach infestation faster than a messy house. A cockroach invasion doesn't happen overnight, but can worsen if food is perpetually left out. Cockroaches will eat anything a human will eat - and more. Any traces of food (in the microwave, in the sink, on the floor, etc.) you can be assured the cockroaches will find. If you can successfully cut off the food source (or replace with cockroach baits), you can at least shorten the cockroach's lifespan. Shelter — As mentioned above, cockroaches like warm, humid climates, like the bathroom or a crawl space. Clean your drains regularly, especially during the cold winter months. And if you have a boiler room or furnace, spot-check those locations as well. You might not be able to access your interior walls, but you can at least keep these other areas clean, or use approved traps, etc. to catch cockroaches that way. Eggs — Cockroaches usually mate during the winter, most often in the places mentioned above. These are the locations you'll want to inspect for eggs or evidence of roach activity. Bed bugs "Good night, sleep tight . . ." You know the rest. Bed bugs are difficult to see, and even harder to get rid of. Despite the measures you may take to eliminate bed bugs from your home, there is always a chance that the bed bug populations will not be removed completely. Expert exterminator services are usually required to fully eradicate bed bug populations from a home. Where they go Perhaps the most disturbing thing about bed bugs is that they don't really appear to go anywhere for the winter — they're simply less active in colder climates. Tim Sherrer, owner of Expest Exterminating, states that although bed bugs are less active during the winter months, “they can still remain a threat when other insects are not.” Like cockroaches, bed bugs like warm, humid climates; however, when exposed to cold temperatures, bed bugs can still survive for several days in dormancy. Chances are, if you had bed bugs during the previous summer, and your home didn't undergo a proper pest elimination inspection, you will almost definitely have bed bugs again the following summer. How to keep them from coming back Thankfully, there are some preventative measures you can take to prevent infestations, or at least catch one early. First, cleanliness is next to non-bed-bugliness. Wash your bedding regularly and invest in a bed frame to keep your mattress and boxspring off the floor. Some experts even suggest using double-sided tape to your bed legs and room perimeter, to keep bugs from crawling onto your bed. And contrary to the name, bed bugs will also infest your kitchen if an open food source is available. The best means of prevention here is the Ziplock bag, as well as your fridge/freezer. Ants Sooner or later, we all deal with ants in some measure, whether it's the occasional black ant we see crawling across the kitchen floor, the carpenter ant scurrying under the threshold, or the all-out ant-infestation in our pantry. Ants are perhaps the most common household pests, mainly because they are very small and can access nearly every nook and cranny of your home, and they are incredibly organized. Seeing only a few ants at first does not mean things will stay that way; these ants are scouts leaving a scent trail for the rest of their colony to follow. During the summertime, a small ant problem can quickly become a big one. Ants in the wintertime The parable of the industrious ant and the carefree grasshopper holds true. Several ant species, including black ants, both prepare for and hibernate during the winter. Prior to the winter months, ants will increase their fat stores to ensure their survival during the cold weather. Ants will take refuge under the bark of trees or with their nests underground. The entrance to these hideouts is usually closed during the winter, so you don't usually see ants during the winter because they're not able to leave their own nests. However, if you spot an ant infestation in the cold winter months, this may suggest that an ant colony is living within the wallboards of your home. How to keep them from coming back Since ants have little need for the shelter your home might provide other household pests, their only objective in coming to your house is food. Once the winter is over, ants have a voracious appetite and will find a food source wherever it may be. Cracks in the home are a good place to start to prevent future bug infestations. Alex Berezowski, GM at The Foundation Experts Inc, shares common ways that pests can enter a home: "A common reason why pests find a way in your home can be due to cracks in your foundation. Cracks in your home's foundation are not always the most obvious but can be extremely problematic. If you have any cracks that extend from the floor to the ceiling in your basement or have any walls separating from the ceiling, these might be exactly where these pests are coming from. They can also enter from any cracked tiles, misaligned or sticking windows and doors, baseboard separation, as well as cracked chimneys. However, as said earlier, these cracks aren't always apparent, as they can be minuscule. On that note, other signs of foundation and structural damage can include mould or strange smells." The cold months of winter provide homeowners plenty of time to seal any cracks and crevices in their home and prepare against a larger pest problem during spring and summer months. Mice Of course, when it comes to mice, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is disease. Mice can carry all sorts of diseases (including the bubonic plague) as well as parasites. Where they go Mice are mammals, like us. And like us, they need to stay warm during the winter or they will die. The fact of the matter is, statistically speaking, your home either has been or currently is the residence for mice. Mice are incredibly resourceful, and unlike the other household pests mentioned in this post, mice are strong enough to chew their way through drywall and don't often have to rely on pre-existing holes or cracks to gain entry into your home. How to keep them from coming back One of the best ways to keep mice from getting into your house is to make sure your baseboards are both strong and have no gaps. Baseboards are more than just a fashion piece; they have real practical value in keeping mice out. Look for potential weak spots along the bottom of your walls, including behind appliances and furniture. And while you may not be able to prevent all mice from entering your home, you can certainly make their stay less enjoyable by cleaning up food, and leaving D-Conn or other mouse poisons in strategic places. Brad Leahy, owner of B.O.G Pest Control, advises homeowners to prep their garden as a means to prevent mice problems in the winter: "When it comes to your garden, make sure your mulch isn't touching the foundation of your home. Mice look for warmth and coverage and gravitate toward your leaf-covered mulch. Spread out your mulch and remove any debris. Rule of thumb — no deeper than two inches." Winter is coming, and understanding that preventing unwanted pests from accessing your home is a year-round effort — and not just a summertime activity — is one of the best way to not only keep the pests away, but also prevent them from coming back. If you find that your pest problem is more than you can handle, consider investigating one of our top pest control companies to help you devise a solution.