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You may think that the winter is a break from pests flying and crawling around, but they might just be hiding somewhere in your house! Some pests are known to “overwinter.” This means they seek shelter in homes, sheds, woodpiles, and more, so they stay alive during the cold winter months.  

The best way to prevent an infestation this winter is to take preventative action. Follow these tips to minimize pests in your home this winter:  

Inspect Your House

Prevent pests from even entering your house by inspecting it and making the proper fixes necessary to keep them out. Inspect the inside and outside of your home. Check for ways that pests can enter the home.  

Look for gaps in window and door frames. If there are gaps or holes of any kind, seal them with a proper caulk. Check your window screens. If there are tears in the window screen, a pest could easily make its way through. You can fix window screens with a screen repair kit from a local hardware store.  

Inspect the rubber strip commonly found on the bottom of outside doors. Make sure the rubber isn’t cracked or torn—you may need to replace it.  

Does your home have a crawl space? Make sure the door to the crawl space is properly secure and closes tight with no gaps.  

Do you have a wood-burning fireplace? When was the last time it was professionally cleaned? Nests and other debris that finds their way into your chimney are like free real estate for pests. Make sure your chimney flue is closed whenever you’re not using it—just remember to open the flue when you use the fireplace so the smoke doesn’t enter your home.

Tidy the Outdoors

While the outdoors is technically their (the pests’) turf, there are still ways you can keep them away from your house. One way is regular outdoor maintenance. Keeping bushes and trees trimmed and not right up on the house will prevent many pests from making their way into the home. Try to keep tree branches at least 6 feet away from the house. Make sure bushes are trimmed and aren’t too close to the home. Foliage makes a great hiding spot for pests!  

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or fire pit, you may have a stockpile of wood lying around. Make sure it’s not right up in your house. Pests (including mice!) will utilize it to keep warm for the winter, and the further it is from the exterior of your home the better.

Tidy the Indoors  

Try to cut down on clutter. Pests like spiders, silverfish, and cockroaches like to hide inside our homes and make their move at night. They love heavily cluttered homes with lots of stuff to hide behind. Minimizing clutter minimizes their hiding spots. Make sure to regularly clean closets, under the sink, and behind furniture or other objects that rarely move. It will dissuade these pests from making a home of your home.  

Use plastic (or glass) storage bins! It holds especially true for the food in your pantry. Many pests can chew through plastic bags or cardboard boxes. If you see any chew marks on anything in the pantry, you may want to throw it away and check the rest of the pantry goods. Keeping your food in an airtight, sealed container significantly reduces pests in the kitchen.  

The storage bin hack also holds other items you may keep in storage. Old clothes, photo albums, holiday decorations, etc. in your attic or basement are a haven for pests. Keep all your items in labeled totes to keep pests from making a nest or laying eggs in your stuff.  

Do you have any leaky faucets? You may want to have those repaired. Pests welcome the free water supply. If you have a leaky faucet, you may as well be holding a sign saying, “Please breed here!” Many pests, especially insects, like to breed near a water source.

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