Spring and summer are typically the times of year that most people begin to think about keeping pests out of their homes, but it turns out that many pests invade homes in the winter, too! In fact, the National Pests Management Association (NPMA) recently estimated that as many as 21 million rodents seek shelter inside homes during the year’s coldest months.
Some pests enter the home while trying to escape from freezing outside temperatures, but often homeowners themselves are unwittingly responsible for bringing these pests indoors. So how can you make sure that bugs and furry creatures are not on your list of invited guests this January? Note the following household items that can attract creepy critters into your home.
- Christmas trees and firewood. Cockroaches, beetles, and spiders often attach themselves to wood, and can enter the home when you bring in your newly chopped Christmas tree or firewood. The solution? Store your firewood in a closed container above the ground, and limit the amount of wood that you bring into the house. Make sure that you dispose of your Christmas tree before it begins to attract insects.
- Potted plants. When temperatures begin to dip, most people want to bring their delicate potted plants indoors. However, these plants often have mites, aphids, gnats, and other insects living in them. Before you bring the plants indoors, therefore, be sure to spray them with appropriate insecticides, and soak the dirt to kill any insects living in the soil.
- Paper goods taken from the attic. As winter approaches, many people make trips to their attics to retrieve bulky clothing and holiday decorations stored away during warmer months. However, silverfish often nest in attics, and feed on paper goods, so household items may not be the only things you bring down. To eliminate silverfish, reduce the amount of paper and moisture in your home, and consider using pesticides such as pyrethroids.
- Processed foods. If your cereals, grains, or other processed foods spent long periods of time in the warehouse before they arrived at your home, they may be infested with insects such as Indian meal-moths and saw-toothed grain beetles. Additionally, if these foods are stored in containers that are not tightly sealed, they may attract rodents. Check your foods regularly for signs of infestation, and store them in tightly closed glass and metal containers. Finally, seal small cracks and other openings in the home through which rodents can enter.