Tips Defend Your Home Against an Overlooked Threat
Veteran homeowners know too well that along with postcard-worthy scenes, winter brings a host of worrisome hazards. Some are familiar and inescapable, while others are more insidious and, for that reason, can be the most dangerous of all.
Like a beacon in the night, a warm home fully stocked with food is an irresistible draw for countless species of insects and rodents. Mice and rats, cockroaches and spiders are notoriously relentless intruders, often capable of breaching even hairline cracks in the home exterior. But with foresight and care, you can go a long way toward effectively barring unwanted houseguests. It’s well worth the effort to do so. Indeed, the “ick” factor may be the least of your concerns. Household pests can cause extensive, expensive damage.
Once they gain entry to your home, insects and rodents gnaw through wood, wires, and drywall, gradually but inevitably leaving no small amount of destruction in their wake. Even their nesting—in dark, warm, often moist crevices—typically results in rotten wood and mold growth, either or both of which undermine the integrity and longevity of your home. There’s one silver lining in all this. The measures you need to take to minimize the likelihood of an infestation are the very same measures you should take to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. That is, in one fell swoop, you can pest-proof your home and help lower your monthly utility bills. It all comes down to this: In a tightly sealed, properly protected home, warm air stays indoors while cold air—and pests—stay out.
Though you may not be dealing with an infestation right now, recognize that the risk of a pest invasion never really goes away—especially in winter. So, keep a keen eye out for storm damage as the weeks pass, and sooner rather than later, consider acting on the following best practices for pest prevention:
- Trim back trees to bar rodents from easy access to the underside of your roof overhang.
- Declutter the basement, attic, and any utility rooms so as to eliminate any potential nesting grounds.
- Examine the fascia board along the roofline, replacing any areas of rotted wood.
- Repair loose mortar and replace worn weatherstripping around all windows and doors.
- Store food in sealed containers and keep crumbs off the floor.
- Seal all cracks or gaps on the home exterior with a silicone-based caulk.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home, not only off the ground but also covered.
- Avoid ice dams by using a roof rake to dissipate potentially problematic accumulations of snow.
- Hire a professional sweep to clean the stack, inspect the flue, and install a cap over the chimney.
Certain telltale signs suggest the presence of an ongoing infestation—chewed box corners, say, or piles of sawdust where you wouldn’t have expected to encounter them. At the same time, however, remember that many people whose homes suffer pest damage don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. If you’re concerned about insects or rodents on your property, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Cummings Termite and Pest. We are trained to pinpoint the obvious and not-so-obvious signs of an infestation and can advise you on how best to ensure the continued protection of your home from its foes.