Here in Southern California, it seems that our anticipation for winter can last longer than the season itself. We are graced by mostly warm temperatures, so even though it’s February, it’s not too late to get your home ready for some winter pest control! In this article, we’ll discuss ways to prevent pests that are more inclined to cause problems with cooler temps.
This season in the high desert brings the perfect opportunity to pull out your sweaters, drink a warm beverage, and embrace being cozy on a chilly winter’s day. Unfortunately, though, you’re not the only one who prefers to stay warm and enjoy the great indoors this time of year. These cooler temps also attract various rodents and pests that live outside. They, too, are looking for an opportunity to stay warm and find food. An estimated 29% of pest invasions happen during winter, and 50% of these take place in the kitchen.
Pests most likely to find their way inside your home this winter:
- Squirrels: California has its very own type of squirrel, known as the California Ground Squirrel. And here in Southern California, their breeding season begins in December, which could bring an influx of squirrels to your area. The ground squirrel is known to create its burrows in the ground, which can cause an issue for your lawn, making it unstable and even hazardous. Plus, these quickly multiplying rodents love to munch on vegetables and fruits from your garden and trees. They especially love apples, peaches, and apricots. And if they can’t find enough to eat in the sparse winter months, they’ll take to bark and even plastic sprinkler heads!
- Widow Spiders: Most people get a bit squeamish when it comes to spiders. And in the case of widow spiders, there is certainly reasonable cause for concern. That’s because black and brown widows are poisonous to humans, and a bite could send you to the emergency room. And if you thought they might be less prevalent during the winter months, think again. The mild temps of Southern California keep these native bugs active all year long. Regularly check for common everyday structures like patio furniture, bbq pits, and playground equipment for signs of these dangerous spiders.
- Rats and Mice: Rats and mice are great at a few things: multiplying very quickly and causing mayhem. And it is in these winter months that they’re looking for a warm place to house their offspring. If you have any openings to your home or incentives for critters to come inside, your house is especially vulnerable to an invasion. So, make sure that your house is well-protected to avoid their nuisance and the diseases they might carry.
In consideration of these pests, among many others, we recommend you take these steps to winter-proof your home against pests. These are our most effective winter pest control tactics:
Close off any openings
Check your house for any openings or holes that a mouse or rat could crawl through. Take note that a mouse can squeeze through a hole that is the size of a dime while a rat can fit through one the size of a quarter. Look over the various windows and doors of your house and use caulking to close up any gaps. Make sure to check the foundations for any cracks. You will want to seal these right away. If you find a hole that caulking or cement will not be a good fit for, please stuff these holes with steel wool. If mice or rats try to chew through this, they will die. These kinds of pests are much easier to deal with if you can catch the problem before they get into the house.
If you have any papers, cardboard boxes, or various places that store trash, be sure to go through these and throw them away. Such areas of clutter can become ideal hiding places for pests and provide building materials for their nests. That’s why it is crucial to attend to these and get rid of them immediately. Doing so will make a big difference in your pest problem.
Prepare Your Yard
You will want to move most objects away from your house, particularly any firewood, as it is more likely to attract unwanted pests. This is a prime location for small rodents, and moving it far from your home will lessen their likelihood of entering your home. It is also necessary that you clean out your downspouts and gutters. Any accumulation of leaves from the Fall supplies more hiding places for pests. Be sure to pull back the mulch from the siding of your house or foundations and do not store your trash cans directly up against your house. These simple steps to prep your yard will help keep your home safer from all unwanted critters.
Keep Water and Food Away
These pests are primarily in search of a source of water, food, and a warm environment. Check your plumbing to ensure that there are no leaks under your sinks or in your basements. These are ideal places for a rodent to find water. And most importantly, be sure to keep all food out of their reach. Leaving food out is practically an invitation to a pest to enter your home and set up shop. Keep in mind that they can quickly eat through thin plastic. That’s why we recommend using durable storage containers or utilizing your refrigerator for items that could be appealing to mice or rats.