Winter pest issues
As I am sitting here watching the first rain of the season out my window in North Hollywood I’m reminded of the change in pest we are about to start seeing. Pests are like you and I, they don’t want to be sitting outdoors in the rain when we can move to a warmer and dryer environment. Pests will take the first opportunity to move inside a structure. Pests are opportunist when it comes to finding shelter when the climate changes the needs of rodents and insects habitat. What worked in the summer months isn’t going to be life sustaining in the wet, cold winter months.
Even though we have “winter” it isn’t cold enough in California to stop pest invasions. Let’s take a look at a couple of pests that will be looking for that opportunity to move indoors.
Mice and rats are top of the list of pest that will find their way indoors. The only need a space the size of ¼ inch to squeeze through and most homes have many construction deficiencies that will meet this opportunity.
- Vents and craw space doors
- Opening around pipes
- Eaves and soffits
- Weather stripping
- Old abandon sewer lines
These are the common areas that all kinds of pest gain access to our homes and businesses. Many of these pests, such as Nuisance Animals will make their own openings by ripping off roof shingles, screens and dig tunnels under your home to gain access to the subarea.
Insects, such as ants, spiders, crickets, earwigs and roaches will move closer to a structure when the rains start to escape the elements. Many will crawl under window sills, like black and brown widows looking for other insects that are doing the same thing looking for an easy meal. Ill fitting screens allow access through windows and missing weather stripping at door bottoms is another common access point.
Professional pest control products come in various formulations that are specifically designed to work in wet environments without losing their efficacy.
Prevention is a key component to keeping control of your pest needs year round, but especially during the winter months. Maintaining service throughout the year is crucial in an effective pest management program. What you do or don’t do during the winter months will have a positive or negative effect on your year round program.
This is a great time to do the walk around your home or business to inspect the above common areas of access. Armed with a tube of caulking and a flashlight you can seal up lots of openings that could offer access.
Many of the issues are best handled by a pest control professional since they know the biology of the pest and know what materials best suit the repair. I’ve seen some exclusion work that obviously took a lot of time to complete, but will not provide actual exclusion because the material used or methods were sub-standard.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you currently have a pest control provider, my first suggestion is DON’T STOP the service. If you don’t have a company, GET ONE. Many companies offer rodent inspections to evaluate what issues may be present and give you solutions. Attics are primary harborage sites for Roof Rats (most common rat) and because of insulation in attics, you may not actually hear them running around doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have a major infestation. Rats will store all kinds of food and nesting material in attics and subareas in order to thrive and survive the winter. One of the dangers of allowing pests, such as opossums, skunks, raccoons, foxes and squirrels to share your dwelling is they have no reason to leave.
I remember when I first started in the industry as a young kid my training and time spent was mostly dealing with insects. I never saw skunks, raccoons, or opossums because they were happy in their environment, well that all changed after all the major fires, rains, and floods we had back in the day caused them to move into urban areas. When they did, they found food, water and shelter in abundance. Pets and pet food was easily available in almost everyone’s backyard. These animals had it made, would you go back up in the hills to hunt for food when all you had to do was take it? Just yesterday coming into the office I saw a coyote walking down a residential street as if he could care less.
Winter pest control in many ways is equally important as summer, because it sets the stage for the next shift in pest activity. I understand that it is hard to justify a service when you don’t SEE the results. “We do our best job when there is nothing there”.