As we transition into the winter season, most of us have only Christmas on our minds. You might be preparing your home to welcome friends and family members in the upcoming holidays. But don’t forget that some nasty creatures are probably looking for an entry into your house too!
The drop in outdoor temperatures prompts insects like ants, wasps, beetles, stink bugs, and spiders to find a way into warmer places, such as your home.
That’s how nature works. You can’t stop them in their hunt for a cozy and comfortable winter rental. Nor can you make your place unattractive for these foragers in any way. What you can do, however, is seal off the entrances to keep the annoying free hoarders from finding a way in the first place.
Our professional pest exterminators at Ant Plus Pest Control have rounded up some top tips for sealing your house to keep insects out. Follow these steps to ensure a safe, hygienic, and pest-free house all winter and beyond.
Identifying Problem Areas
The key to effectively sealing your house to keep pests out is to first identify all potential areas of entry.
Walk around your house while actively thinking about possible points of entry for insects. Attic vents, mail slots, pet doors, and chimneys are some of the most obvious passageways. You might pass off a small crack in the window as no big deal. But remember that it can be a big ‘welcome’ sign for pests.
Ask yourself, ‘can a rodent squeeze in through this spot?’ because if it can, then it means that countless other insects can enter in the same way as well. And just for a reference, know that mice can fit in pipes and holes with a diameter as small as that of a nickel!
The most common problem areas where insects can come in from include:
- Edges of doors and windows
- Basement and crawl space vents
- Gaps in the foundation
- Spaces around gas, electric, and plumbing lines
- Damaged trim and siding
- Cracks and crevices in exterior walls
- Open bathroom drains
Sealing the Windows
Leaving your door and windows open is bound to bring pests indoors. So, try to keep them shut at all times, particularly at night when insects come out looking for food.
If you must keep a window open, get it fitted with a net or mesh screen. If your windows are already fitted with a screen, carefully inspect every inch of it. Mesh screens tend to come loose and detach from the edges of the window frame with the passage of time. Check for holes, tears, and other openings that may have formed due to wear and tear.
Installing mesh screens in all your windows might require some investment. But it is worth the hassle, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a professional.
An even better option is to replace the existing screens with storm windows. They have the added benefit of cutting down your heating and cooling costs.
Sealing the Doors
You can seal the door using saddle-type thresholds. They are usually used to create a transition between two-floor surfaces. However, door saddles also serve to prevent drafts by reducing the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. As such, they are also effective in keeping tiny crawlers out of the house.
Some doors also feature a built-in door sweep for the purpose. You can replace your existing door with this kind. If the surface beneath your door is somewhat uneven, you can opt for a brush-type sweep. It won’t offer the same utility as a solid rubber door sweep. But it can still provide a degree of security against insects looking for a way in.
To seal the top of the door and even the sides of your windows, you will need high-quality weather strips. Some of these come in easy-to-use, peel-and-stick rolls. They are definitely more convenient. But they usually don’t offer much protection in the long run. It’s better to go for half-assembled weather-stripping kits instead. These come in various materials, such as sponge, foam, vinyl, metal, or a combination thereof.
Weather stripping your doors and windows is not only helpful in keeping pests out but can help reduce your energy bill as well.
Sealing Wall Vents
Mesh screens are usually pre-installed in many vents. However, that might not be true for you. Pests, bugs, and rodents can easily enter through vents.
Professional pest exterminators recommend fitting a screen on the outside of the vent if you cannot access the inner side.
It’s important to note though, that the building code in various areas requires fully functioning vents in rooms that have a gas heater. So, if you use one, then do avoid sealing up the vent completely.
The cardinal rule of winterizing your home against pests is simple. If you see a crack or a hole anywhere around the premises, you have got to cover it!
It’s not just about repairing the cracks in the outer walls. You need to fix gaps and breaks in the interior walls as well. This eliminates all hiding spots for insects. So, even if a bug or two finds a way into your house, you can rest easy that they won’t have any place to breed and multiply.
Seal gaps in the skirting using caulk. If you don’t have skirting installed on your walls and there are faults along the wall-floor joint, don’t use caulk directly. First, fill all considerably large holes with compressible foam. Next, apply a weatherstrip if possible. Any narrow fissures still remaining can then be closed with caulk.
In carpeted rooms, make sure the floor spread is fitted snugly along the perimeter. If there are breaks along the skirting, use a foam backer rod to seal the space.
With these few simple fixes, you can keep a lot of pesky insects out of your home. But in case some annoying overwintering pests still manage to take up residence at your place, call our team at Ant Plus Pest Control right away. We provide professional pest extermination in Lewiston, Brunswick, Falmouth, Boothbay Harbor, Augusta, Portland, and the surrounding areas.