Ahh, cooler weather, finally! We’ve entered our favorite time of the year, though it’s still not time to get complacent with insects.
Many people think that mosquitoes, ants and other pests are inactive in the later part of the year, but that’s not the case. Overwintering insects go into a hibernation-like state to survive, but that doesn’t mean they just hang out and chill.
Like us, bugs want to get cozy when it’s cold outside. Once the temperatures start to drop, they attempt to seek shelter in warmer environments … which includes inside our homes! This is especially true when the weather turns cold, wet and snowy.
Whether you are experiencing a Florida, Tennessee or Pennsylvania set of seasons, our Bug Bite Thing team wants to prepare you with a few tips to remain bug-free this fall and winter:
Keep Bugs Out of Your Home in Fall and Winter
Keep your house clean.
One of the best pest prevention “tricks” to protect your home is to keep it spotless. Don’t make it easy for bugs by leaving out traces of food that will attract them. No crumb should go left untouched! Wipe counters and tables after meals and cooking, but don’t leave those pantry and cabinets hanging either. It is a good idea to seal stored food in air-tight containers or keep open items in the refrigerator. Decluttering can help you spot areas that may need a little more attention, so it’s the perfect time to take tips from all that binge-watching of “Get Organized with The Home Edit!” Lastly, trash can entice insects, so keep a tight lid on it and dispose of garbage often.
- Watch out for open doors and windows.
As my grandpa always says: “Do you think you live in a barn?!” Besides allowing cool air inside, keeping doors and windows open can give bugs an escape route that leads right into your home. If leaving a door or window open is necessary or desired for a bit of fresh air, consider installing a screen made from fine mesh as an extra barrier. Screens can also be used in attic vents for added protection. When you do open the door in the evening hours, turn off any nearby outdoor lights, as white light can attract bugs. Or, use seasonally friendly colors like orange, red, green or blue, which are less enticing to pests … some would say they don’t appreciate the holiday spirit!
- Make sure possible entry points are sealed tight.
Speaking of doors and windows, seal all crevices and cracks before the cold weather creeps inside. Weather stripping can be placed around the perimeter of doors, with aluminum or steel shields at the bottom. Inspect cable, pipe and wire entry points and use caulk, where needed. If you have any cracks on the interior or exterior of the drywall or foundation, take care of them early so ants can’t sneak through the tiny spaces.
- Check produce, plants and firewood before they come into the house.
You don’t want hitchhikers, so inspect any fruits, vegetables and house plants before you bring them indoors, especially if they are coming straight from the farm or garden. Aphids can be “stage five clingers,” so double-check your seasonal finds like Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths and pumpkins, too. Firewood should also be on your list. Keep it covered and outside on a raised platform until it’s ready for use, then give it a once-over before bringing it inside.
Maintain your lawn and exterior plants.
If you live in the northern part of the country, you may be tempted to let nature do its thing during the winter months, but give your outdoor space some extra care before the snow begins to fall. Trim trees and foliage back so they are not touching or hanging over your home, as bugs like to take shelter in them. Clean up any leftover fruit from a garden that can attract bugs. Since insects often hide near the warmer areas on the ground, remove mulch and leaf piles (check for debris in your gutters too) if you expect an icy or snowy yard.
Be mindful of moisture.
It’s no secret that insects like moisture. Check all pipes around your home, ideally before the first snow, though this is important even in the southern states. Don’t skip over common culprits like basements, attics and crawl spaces, which can hide leaks. Dehumidifiers can also help with added moisture hanging around the home.
Looking for other non-toxic ways to prevent mosquitoes in the meantime? We have more information for you on the blog. If one still finds a way to squeeze through all these tricks and find you, Bug Bite Thing is still here for post-bite protection and itch relief.