Many regions of the United States are susceptible to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the fall, which means insects such as ants, beetles, stink bugs, large outdoor cockroaches, and wasps begin finding their way into your warm home. While 74 percent of Americans surveyed by Raid believe they have more bugs in the home in summer, what they may not know is their home remains susceptible to unwanted visitors well into the cooler months.
To keep these bugs, and other pests, out of your home this winter and stay ahead of the “fall crawl,” consider the following:
Step 1: Seal Your Home Against Insects
As temperatures drop, food, water, and shelter become more difficult for insects to find outdoors, which can cause them to invade your house looking for these disappearing resources they need to survive. To help prevent this from happening:
- Weatherproof all windows and doors to seal off cracks around ledges and edges. This will help to keep outdoor pests outdoors.
- Check your home for light leaks and seal any exterior-opening gaps or cracks that can enable pests as large as rodents and bats to get in.
- Caulk cracks along bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Even the tiniest of these can enable insects to sneak in and provides them with easy access to the water they need for survival.
Step 2: Fortify Your Defense Against Pests
You might miss a few areas when sealing your house, and that’s where backup products come in.
- Use long-lasting indoor/outdoor labeled pesticide products to spray around the perimeter of your house and larger entryways like doors. For best results, apply both indoors and outdoors.
- To keep pests out of indoor sensitive areas, such as kitchen sinks, backsplashes, and bathrooms, use a product that is labeled for these areas and has a precise-tip applicator enabling application into tight spots, cracks, and crevices.
- Keep floors swept, counters wiped, and food stored in the refrigerator or insect-resistant packaging. This will help reduce rodent and insect attraction and ensure you are not providing easy access to food and water for their survival.
Step 3: Break Bad Habits That Attract Pests
Cooling temperatures are not the only factor attracting bugs to your house—in fact, your everyday actions may be inadvertently inviting bugs in. To help keep pests out, change the following habits:
- Do you store firewood next to your house? If you do, you are inviting wood-boring pests to invade your home. Always store firewood at least 3 feet away from your house and bring in only the amount that you will burn quickly. This will keep pests that do come in on the firewood from crawling off and taking shelter in your home.
- Are there any recycling bins stored in an attached garage or near your home? The remnants of soda and other food products can attract ants. While the sight of a few ants might not be alarming, ants will leave a scent trail for other ants to follow.
- Do you have piles of old paper, fabric, or other clutter sitting in an out-of-the-way place—or even a regularly used room? These can provide shelter (and even food) for several insect and rodent pests. Keeping your home clean means limiting its attraction to pests.
Author’s Note: Much of the information in the three steps, as well as in the product information, was contributed by Raid. For more information on its pest products, visit www.raidkillsbugs.com. For more information on the Raid survey, see Bugs in Your Home: How Americans Feel.