How The Bitter Cold Winter Affects Pests

Snowed-in rows of cars along a Springfield street during winter.

It has been a long and cold winter for all of us, including the pest population and they are always looking for a place to shelter them from the elements. Those harsh temperatures, wind, and ice can make your home an easy target. Taking a proactive approach and staying vigilant during the winter months are the most important steps in pest prevention. Since pests, such as insects and rodents, can pose serious risks to your home and your health, this is a to do you'll want to move to the top of your list!

The biggest winter factors that can make your home more susceptible to pest problems are the extreme cold, wind, snow, and ice. Not only do these factors drive pests inside, but they can also do damage to your home making it easier for pests to get in. That means when the spring arrives, you could end up with even more pests finding their way into your home.

You probably didn't know more than 21 million homes in the United States have unwanted rodent problems in the winter. When the temperatures drop, homes are more susceptible to burst pipes. When pipes freeze and burst, the damage left behind to flooring and drywall make it easier for rodents to get inside. The best thing you can do to protect your home from burst pipes is to keep the inside faucets on a low drip and keep the thermostat set around 68 degrees. Checking around your pipes for any gaps and filling those in can help keep pests out as well as provide better insulation around your pipes.

Ice dams can also cause damage to your insulation, ceilings, walls, and drywall and attract unwanted pests. Some pests just love moisture. Termites and carpenter ants are a few of these pests. Either one of those pests can turn a little water damage into hundreds, even thousands in damages. Making sure your gutters are clear and any leaks or ice dams are taken care of quickly can prevent extensive damage and an open invitation to pests.

Winter wind is often credited with damaging siding and roofs. When you have damage to these areas of your home, nuisance wildlife can use your home as shelter from the elements. Raccoons and bats can crawl into those spaces and become a major pain. Checking your home occasionally for missing shingles or holes in siding and addressing these issues immediately are vital in keeping your home protected from pests over the winter.

If you suspect any pests have made it into your home over the winter, contact a pest control professional as quickly as possible. It will help to minimize the damage caused by these critters and save you a lot of headaches in the long run.