Winter Pest Warning
February 6, 2015
They should have one of those emergency alerts for household pests. It would start with that really annoying test noise, followed by, "There is a pest warning for the following counties…" After all, winter and pests go hand in hand, don't they? Here are some things about winter that can lead to an infestation.
When temperatures drop, pest animals start looking for a warmer place to be. Squirrels, mice, rats, raccoons, and a host of other wildlife can hide in a tree notch, rotted log, or in a hole, but if your home offers them a better option, they're going to take it. These animals aren't dumb. They'll go where the warmth is. That is why it is important to keep your exterior walls, eaves, roofline, and chimney trim maintained. Animals, especially rodents, can chew and claw their way through some surprisingly small holes. And the older your home is, the more holes there are to chew through. It is also never a good idea to vent the exhaust from your dryer under the deck, porch or patio. You're just asking for a skunk to move in.
With blizzards comes snow--and sometimes--lots of it. Heavy wet snow can cause a collapse, so it is always a good idea to clear off your roofs. Heavy snow can also open gaps in the structure of your home and allow wildlife like bats, squirrels and pest birds to get in.
Winter winds can be brutal. They aren't just cold; they can also be strong enough to rip shingles off or tear siding. After high winds, always to a visual inspection of your exterior walls, eaves and roof (assuming it isn't covered in a foot of snow).
When ice dams form on roofs they can prevent snow from melting. This can cause a moisture backup which can damage walls, insulation, ceilings and drywall. Pests like rodents, ants and termites are attracted to moistened wood. Heavy ice can also pull gutters away from the roofline and create entry points. When winter is done, be sure to do an inspection and repair damaged areas.
When you properly manage the damaging effects of winter, you'll have a lower heat bill, more equity in your home, and a lot fewer pests to deal with. It is definitely worth the effort.
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