Now that fall has arrived and the weather is starting to get cooler, insects, rodents and other damaging pests start to look for warmer places to spend their winter. Your home or garage is a great nesting place for these pests as the weather turns. Now is the time to prepare your home against these pests.

Consider these helpful pest prevention tips to assist you in sealing your home up tight for the winter and prevent these outdoor pests from coming inside your home.
Seal any openings around your home
Utility openings where wiring or pipes come into the foundation or siding of your home are common entry points. Areas around gas meters, dryer vents and outdoor facets along with small openings as tiny as 1/16 of an inch or less will allow spiders and other insects in, while 1/4  inch openings are big enough to allow mice or rodents in. You can use caulk, expandable foam, copper mesh or even cement to seal up any of these areas where applicable. If cracks or holes are in your foundation, but are not conduits for wiring or vents, then you may want to get a contractor to look at these as they may be part of a larger issue. Any hole or crack, no matter how small, are entry points for possible pests.

Seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors
Use weather-stripping or silicone or acrylic latex caulk to seal cracks and gaps around windows and doors. Before you seal these areas, they should be cleaned and any caulk that has been previously installed should be removed to make sure the new caulk adheres well. If you have a garage that is attached to your house, you may want to fit the bottom of your garage doors with a rubber seal, which will both keep annoying pests out and keep heat in during the winter. Sliding glass doors can also be sealed along the bottom track with foam weather-stripping.

Examine window and door screens for rips and holes
If any rips or holes are found, they should either be mended or the screens should be replaced entirely. Large gaps in screens will allow in flies and other larger insects, but some insects are small enough to fit through window and door screens that are free from any tears, so keeping doors and windows closed is the best way to keep all insects out of your home

Install a chimney cap
If you have a chimney, installing a chimney cap can keep out birds, bats and other wildlife that may try to spend their winter inside your home. If you have attic vents, installing 1/4 inch wire mesh will keep bats, squirrels and rodents from infesting your attic and even getting inside the walls of your home.

Survey the conditions around your home
If you have a woodpile near the house or trees or shrubs nearby, you could be creating a welcoming environment for insects. It’s just a short leap for them to move from the nearest shrub to your front door, so keeping woodpiles, trees and shrubs away from the immediate areas around your home can help eliminate the insects that may be attracted to the inside of your home. The lighting you have at your front or backdoor can also be inviting to insects. Insects are not attracted to sodium vapor lighting, so this can be used to deter insects from the areas around your home as well.

If you use all of these tips, not only will you have a home that is safe from unwanted pests, but you will also improve the energy efficiency of your home, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you learned through experience? Let us know by posting in the comments below or tell us your story.

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