There’s a chill in the air and Fall is right around the corner. The leaves are changing colors and it’s time to get ready for bonfires, football games, and apple cider. While we wrap up in our hoodies and sweats for warmth, pests are eying your home looking for the same thing. Your home is an open invitation for insects and rodents seeking warmth, shelter, and food for the upcoming winter months.

Fall is the time for a plethora of pests to make their presence known. Rodents, flies, stinging insects, ants, cockroaches, stinkbugs and ladybugs are all prevalent in the Fall and Winter seasons as they look for shelter from the cold and for food sources to sustain them until Spring.

What can you do to keep these uninvited guests from taking up residence in your home this Fall and Winter? Just follow these easy steps for pest prevention.

Examine the exterior of your home. Seal any openings that could allow pests to enter your home. These include utility openings where wires or pipes come into the foundation and areas around gas meters, dryer vents, and outdoor faucets. You can use caulk, expandable foam, copper mesh, or cement to seal these openings.

Examine doors and windows.  Be sure to seal any gaps and cracks around windows and doors that would allow pests to enter the home. You can use weather stripping or caulk to seal these problem areas. You can also fit the bottoms of your doors, including your garage doors, with rubber seals. Weather stripping can also be used to seal the bottoms of sliding glass doors. Be sure to examine your screens on doors and windows, as well. Repair any rips/tears that can be fixed and replace the screens that can’t be fixed.

Install a chimney cap. If you have a chimney, make sure you install a chimney cap to keep out birds, bats, and other wildlife. You can also install wire mesh over attic vents to keep out bats, squirrels, and rodents.

Use dehumidifiers. Many pests, including cockroaches, are drawn to moisture in and under your home. Use dehumidifiers in your attic, basement, or garage to reduce this moisture.

Examine your landscaping. If you have a woodpile outside, make sure to keep it at least 20 feet from the exterior of your home and elevate the woodpile if possible. Cut back overgrown landscaping 1-2 feet so they are not touching the exterior of your home. You should be able to walk the entire perimeter of your house without touching any landscaping. Lighting also attracts pests, especially around windows and doors. If possible, use sodium vapor lighting to help reduce the attraction to pests.

Contact a pest control professional. If any of these prevention methods fail, call a pest control professional. Sometimes DIY methods just don’t work. Pests can fit through the smallest of openings and others, such as ants and termites, can be nearly impossible to track. A professional pest control specialist can thoroughly inspect your property, identify those hard to find entry points, and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan, as well as help to prevent further infestations.