Common Winter Pests

One would think that one of the benefits of cold and snowy weather in New York and Vermont in winter would be the absence of pets.

One would think, but one would be wrong: pests invade our homes every season of the year. In fact, some pests enter our homes more often in winter than in spring or summer because they are looking for food and warmth – and human always provide.

What types of pests are common during the winter months? Read below.

Mice. These four-footed pests probably are the most common that invade our homes during winter. As mentioned above, they do so mostly for the easy food pickings and to stay warm.

They tend to nest in warm, moist places such as attics and basements. As cute as some people find them, they can spread disease, chew through electric wires and even drywall (chewing through both could mean an electrical fire). They also can spread tapeworms and Salmonella.

A mouse can fit through an opening in your home that is as small as a dime is round. Therefore you should seal holes and cracks with caulk as well as steel wool in holes/crevices around your foundation and in your eaves. You also should keep your basement and attic free of boxes on the floor and check your home regularly for signs of infestation (mice droppings, gnawing marks and even damaged food).

Rats. Definitely not as “cute” as mice, rats are even more of a pest. These critters can gnaw through just about anything – lead pipe, anyone? They also can spread the cowpox virus, jaundice and rat-bite fever.

Rats can enter your home through an opening about the size of a quarter. If you should find cracks this size outside your home, seal it with silicone caulk (steel wool may not work as rats can chew through steel).

You also should make sure crawl spaces in attics and in your basement are kept dry (rats love moisture) and check for signs of rats by looking for droppings and gnawing marks.

Brown recluse spiders often enter our homes in winter, looking for undisturbed places to spin their webs (snowfall and rain can so ruin a web). The bite of this spider can result in intense pain for up to eight hours and also can result in fever and difficulty sleeping.

These spiders often are found along window moldings, in cardboard and even in seldom-worn shoes and items of clothing.

To help keep these spiders from entering your home, keep trees and shrubs trimmed and not touching your roof or walls.

It’s also wise to store clothing you won’t be wearing for a while in plastic containers.

German cockroaches are the most common of cockroach on the entire planet. They like small areas that are close to food and water/moisture, which is why our homes are such perfect places for them. They can hitchhike into your home via a grocery bag, boxes and that appliance you bought at the thrift store. They commonly will hang out in your bathroom or kitchen, contaminating food sources and spreading human pathogens and bacteria. Their allergens are known to trigger allergies and make asthma symptoms worse, especially in children.

Make sure you keep your floors and counters clean and crumb-free. Vacuum your home regularly and take the garbage out frequently. Check under appliances and sinks for cockroaches.

If you find evidence of these common winter pests, contact Nature’s Way Pest Control.