Easy Pest Proofing Tips To Keep Fall Invaders Out

Mouse found near a home in Springfield.

Fall in New England is the most beautiful time of year. Though the air is getting crisper, and the dark hours are growing longer, the vibrant foliage, bursting in orange, yellow, and amber, makes it all worthwhile. Bike rides and mountain hikes are more pleasant in the cooler temperatures, and the views and vistas are breathtaking This is an incredible time to be out in nature. Sadly, the critters and the bugs are thinking the opposite. As the chill of fall gets into their bones, they're looking for a nice warm place to escape the winter frost. And, your home--if you let it be--is the perfect little nook for them to overwinter.

If your home is not sealed, you're probably already seeing evidence of their infiltration. It might come as droppings in the back of your cabinets. It might be a line of ants marching to the cat food. Or suddenly the spider webs are in the corners of your living room, instead of the front porch. Every home has a different mix of pests. Yours might be mice and crickets, while your neighbor is fighting with stink bugs and earwigs. But the common-sense measures to keep those bugs and critters at bay, are the same.

Pest prevention begins with you. You can choose how welcome you want to make bugs. And, it begins with your yard. I know it's hard to keep up with those crazy kids, but their yard clutter is a haven for bugs. An abandoned toy, especially if it has been encased in weeds, is an attractive egg-laying site for many bug species. Bugs also like the food and drink they leave behind. And, if a sugar-crusted plate or cup gets knocked to the ground, the dinner bell will ring far and wide.

Kids aren't the only ones who invite pests. Wood piles, construction materials, half-built dog houses, abandoned tools, and cinder blocks, are all yard clutter. These items should be picked up, if possible. Bugs lay their eggs in moist, shaded areas. If you have these near your home, you'll have hundreds, even thousands, of curious bugs hatching right next to your foundation.

Many people don't realize this, but bugs eat bugs. If you have created an environment fruit flies can thrive in, you will invite all the pests that eat fruit flies. So don't leave fruit lying out on display. Put fruit in the fridge till you're ready to eat it, and don't leave fruit carcasses lying around to rot.

Your second line of defense against the fall pest invasion is the exterior of your home. Make sure all your screens are in good working order. Check your door sweeps and weather stripping. And caulk up any cracks in your foundation and siding. Bugs, even large ones, can fit into very tiny slits and holes. Mice can get in through a hole the size of a dime. Seriously! They're mostly fur. It is hard to find every possible entry point, so it is a good practice to have a professional spray the exterior of your home. This will deter bugs from crawling around on your siding and foundation, searching for the cracks you missed. And help you have a bug-free fall.