6 Easy Tips to Keep Pests Out This Fall
Pest problems are common in the fall because the temperature cools, and animals seek a warm place to hide. Like us, they would prefer to stay inside when the weather gets cold. It may not be fall just yet, but there are lots of things you can do now to prevent an infestation in the coming months. The following lists some simple things that you can do to keep pests out this fall.
1. Remove food sources
The number one thing that attracts pests is food. Pet food, garbage, fruits, and vegetables draw pests in and encourages them to stay. Restrict as much food as you can around the yard.
Use lidded garbage bins and store them in a shed or garage until collection day. Clean them with vinegar or soap and water to remove odours. Avoid leaving any pet food out and limit the amount of bird seed you provide. You should stop feeding the birds in the fall. Clean the barbecue grill after each use and cover it.
If you grow fruits and vegetables, harvest them when they are ready, so they don’t fall to the ground and get eaten. Consider protecting your plants with an ultralight mesh or surrounding them with a temporary fence. The stronger the mesh, the better it will work against rodents.
Inside the home, be sure to store food in sealed containers. Clean up the pantry and anywhere that you store food, such as the basement. Use glass or plastic containers that are inaccessible to rodents. Perform a deep clean inside the kitchen, cleaning up the dust and grease that has accumulated under your appliances.
2. Maintain the yard
Many yards could use some TLC at the end of the season. Tidying up will prepare the yard for fall and get rid of hiding spots for pests and wildlife. Start by pulling weeds, then mow the lawn. Trim the hedges and shrubs, then bag up all the plant matter that has accumulated on the ground. You can use this for compost or leave the bag out for collection day.
Check your trees for signs of damage or disease. If there are branches hanging over the roof, cut these a few feet back. Squirrels, raccoons, and rodents will use these branches as a highway into the attic. The branches will also drop leaves into the gutters, and they risk breaking and falling onto the roof. Know that a landscaper can always help you out. Call Peterborough Landscaper or a professional near you.
3. Fix cracks and crevices
Little openings on the sides of the home invite insects and rodents into the home. Walk around the house and check your foundation for cracks. Vertical, narrow cracks can be patched up with an epoxy sealer. These often appear when the house settles, so you don’t need to worry about them very much. If you find any bulging, horizontal, or wide cracks, call a specialist for help.
Then, take a look at your window frames and door frames. Seal any cracks you find with a silicone caulking. You can also use caulking to seal gaps between the soffits and the walls of the home. Mice, bats, and squirrels use these entry points to reach the attic. If you see any other gaps in the walls, like a space surrounding the utility line, stuff it with steel wool.
4. Cover the vents and chimneys with mesh
Rodents have powerful teeth that allow them to chew their way through plastic vent coverings. Raccoons can tear roof vents right off. Keep wildlife out of your attic and ventilation system by capping your vents with steel mesh. Purchase a roll of mesh from the hardware store, then shape it and fasten it over your vents and chimneys to keep pests out. A quarter-inch mesh works best against rodents. If you cannot access the roof safely, or if you cannot find the right material, hire a pest control company. They can pest-proof your vents for you.
You should also consider blocking out your weep vents because they let wasps and other bugs in. These are the small holes you see in the brick wall. Purchase flexible, stainless-steel covers and insert them inside. Do not stuff the vents entirely because they are needed to let the wall expand and contract with the changes in temperature.
5. Put weatherstripping on your doors
Mice often get into homes by crawling underneath the garage door, then under the door to the house. Check the weatherstripping on the bottom of the garage door and see if it needs replacing. Remember that mice can fit through a gap that is the width of a ballpoint pen. Then, put some weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors to the exterior of the house. This will keep mice out while reducing drafts.
6. Make the deck inaccessible
Decks and porches are popular amongst raccoons, skunks, and rodents. They are the perfect shelter for animals hoping to escape the winter’s cold. The problem with housing these animals however is that they will damage the yard and leave piles of feces on the ground, putting you and your loved ones at risk of infection. Skunks are also known to leave terrible odours.
Examine your deck closely for openings on its sides. A 4-inch gap is wide enough to fit a raccoon or a skunk. Block these off with a wooden plank or with a thick, quarter-inch steel mesh. Make sure that nothing is living under there already, so you don’t harm any animals. If you’re unsure, call a wildlife removal specialist.
If the sides of your deck are wide open, clear any debris that may have accumulated underneath and check your foundation for cracks. Smaller pests will hide in the foliage there and may crawl into the home.
Isabelle Provencher is a writer at Wildlife Shield, a wildlife removal company in Toronto with subsidiaries in landscaping, attic renovation, and more. The company specializes in humane and holistic solutions to all pest problems, no matter how challenging.