As winter approaches and the weather cools, many people may notice an unpleasant side effect of the changing seasons. Spiders, insects, rodents, and other pests may be attempting to come into the home to escape the cold. These unwanted guests can be difficult to deal with or even damaging to one’s belongings, but there are a few things that can be done to prevent them from entering.
The first thing to consider is whether there are any openings, cracks, or leaks within the home. Sometimes these can be detected by the presence of cool air in an otherwise warm room, but some are less obvious. Such problems often escape notice in places such as crawlspaces and attics, as people spend less time in them than in other rooms, making such spaces especially attractive to pests. Having a professional crawlspace evaluation performed as well as checking other potential problem areas can make it easier to identify possible entry points, which should be sealed and repaired to prevent pests from entering the home.
Even if there is no actual damage allowing “guests” to enter the home, improperly installed or warped crawlspace covers and doors are also easily exploited. Even a small gap in the seal can allow myriad insect and spider species to enter the home, and properly installed doors can still be ineffective if they are worn or rotted. Weakened materials can be easily overcome by squirrels and mice. Such problems may also allow moisture to collect inside, possibly leading to problems like mold or water damage. All of this makes it vital that these areas be inspected and materials replaced if necessary.
Finally, vents are another common entry point for winter pests. Like covers and doors, poorly installed or damaged vents can enable both pest and moisture problems throughout the home. On the other end of the spectrum, clogged vents that do not let enough air through can cause moisture problems and damage to areas like crawlspaces.
Pest prevention is a much easier, and less messy, strategy than eliminating an existing infestation. By taking some precautions and being aware of potential problem areas, the home can be kept pest-free and cozy even during the winter months. Taking proper care of areas like crawlspaces also has the added benefit of reducing drafts within the home, keeping the temperature, and the heating bill, at a comfortable level.