The Best Fall Pest Prevention Tips

apple-1122537_640As 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

4 Things Your Homeowners Insurance Won’t Cover

house-409451_1920Homeowners insurance is important (and required), but there are a few things it won’t cover. Here are 4 things to be aware of when looking over your insurance policy.

  1. Flooding. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for the future and making sure your home is protected against floods can save you a headache in the long-run. Regardless if you live in a flood zone or not, you should seriously consider looking into flood insurance. According to Flood Smart, flood claims over the past 5 years averaged $39,000; whereas the annual average cost for flood insurance was $700.
  1. Mold. Most species of mold are harmless, but certain types of mold can be harmful to your health. Nasal stuffiness, throat, eye, and skin irritation, and wheezing are some side effects, which can be worse for children and older adults. If you suspect your home has mold, any repairs you’ll need will come out of your pocket (unless your insurance policy covers it).
  1. Earthquakes. California is the only state who has earthquakes and insurance to cover damage from an earthquake is not covered under a standard homeowners’ policy. If you live near a fault line, your rates may be a little costly (compared to those who don’t). However, the out of pocket costs associated with earthquakes can get pretty expensive.
  1. Pools. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a pool. Before you let the neighbor kids take a dip or jump in the pool for a quick lap, talk with your insurance company about pool-related injuries. You will also want to take precautions such as installing locks around the pool and a fence around the pool area.

Read more about what your homeowners insurance won’t cover and make sure you are fully protected.