As the weather gets colder this Fall, insects, rodents and other pesky, even damaging, nuisances start to make their way inside for the winter. Many homeowners can attest that it is a good idea to take preventative measures to keep pests from entering your home in the first place. Here are the best ways to pest proof your home before winter hits and the weather gets too cold.
- Locate Potential Pest Entrances
You will want to inspect the area below your siding. While checking the underside of the siding you can use masking tape to mark any gaps. Make sure to come back through and seal the gaps later.
- Seal Any and All Openings Around Your Home
Be extra careful when inspecting to ensure that you seal all openings around your home including:
- Sealing the cracks and gaps around doors and windows
You can use weather stripping, silicone caulk or acrylic latex caulk to seal off all of your windows and doors. Before sealing these areas, make sure to clean and remove any previously applied caulk to ensure that the new caulk adheres well.
- Securing your dryer vent and other utility openings
Common pest entry points include utility openings where wiring or pipes enter the foundation or siding of your home. You also will want to check and seal around gas meters and outdoor faucets. Ensure that the damper in your dryer vent isn’t stuck open or broken all together. Openings as small as 1/16 of an inch allow spiders to enter your home while only 1/4 of an inch is needed for mice.
- Caulking all gaps between trim and siding
You will want to use acrylic latex caulk to fill gaps between trim and siding. Keeping a wet cloth close by will help clean up stray caulk. Another helpful tip is to use a wet finger to smooth the bead of caulk as you are applying it.
- Inspecting, cleaning and sealing off soffit gaps
Start by pulling all nests from the gaps in your soffits. Then fill these openings with expanding foam. Once the foam hardens you can cut off the excess with a utility knife. This helps smooth the rough appearance of the foam.
- Examine window and door screens for rips and tears
Holes in your screens should be mended right away or replaced entirely. Large gaps allow flies and other large insects inside your home. However, some small insects can still fit through screens regardless of rips and tears. Keeping doors and windows closed and locked tight will be the best way to ensure that all pests stay outside.
- Install a Chimney Cap
Those who have chimneys will benefit by installing a chimney cap. The cap will keep out birds, bats and other wildlife that try to spend winter inside your home. Installing 1/4-inch wire mesh also will keep bats, squirrels and other rodents from entering your attic and the inside of your walls.
- Call your local pest control expert for persistent pests!
Some pests are pesky and persistent. If all of your pet proofing efforts fail, getting help from a local pest control expert or exterminator may be the best option for you.