While most of us enjoy spending more time outdoors in the cooler weather of fall, taking advantage of the milder temperatures, the football games, the bonfires, and trick or treating, pests are beginning to make their way indoors in preparation for the cold winter months. Pests come indoors in fall and winter in search of 3 things: food, shelter, and warmth.

What kind of pests are commonly found making their way into your home in the fall? Cockroaches are the most common. They bring diseases with them that can not only contaminate your food but create significant health risks for you and your family. Rodents like mice, rats, and squirrels are also very common in the fall. Rodents carry potentially harmful diseases that can contaminate your home and make you sick. They also carry fleas, ticks, mites, and lice which can all wreak havoc on your house. Rodents are chewers so when they make their nests in your walls and attics, they will often chew through the drywall and even electrical wires, potentially causing shorts and even fires. Spiders are another common fall pest. Fall is mating season for most species of spiders so you see them in larger numbers as the males venture out in search of a mate. While most spiders found around your home this time of year are harmless, a few varieties like the black widow and the brown recluse can cause potentially serious harm to you and your family.

So what can you do to keep these pests from taking over as the seasons change? Check out these 7 fall pest prevention tips for your home.

  1. Inspect the outside of your home and seal any cracks and crevices with caulk or steel wool, especially around foundations and utility pipes. Consider enclosing your crawlspace to prevent pests from getting into your home from underneath.
  2. Many pests are attracted to water and moisture so keep basements, attics, crawlspaces, and garages dry and well ventilated. You might benefit from using a dehumidifier in these areas to help keep moisture out. Check for and repair any leaky pipes and faucets and get rid of any standing water.
  3. Put screens on attic vents and openings to chimneys, mail slots, and pet doors. Replace the weatherstripping around your doors and windows and repair any cracks or loose mortar around foundations. Install doorsweeps and make sure the screens on your windows and doors are in good repair.
  4. Make sure your outdoor drainage system is clear and functioning properly. Install gutters or make sure your existing gutters are clear of debris and leaves. Make sure downspouts are functioning and pointed away from foundations.
  5. Keep your home, especially kitchens and bathrooms, clean and sanitized. Clean up spills and crumbs immediately. Keep your counters and cabinets wiped down. Make sure food, including pet food, is stored in air-tight containers. Take your trash out regularly and use trash cans with sealing lids. Vacuum and dust often. Sweep out cobwebs when they appear. Don’t leave your pet food or water out overnight.
  6. Clean up outdoors, as well. Make sure your grass is mowed and that shrubs and tree branches are trimmed away from the sides of your home. Store firewood away from your house and elevate it off the ground.
  7. Inspect any items before bringing them into your home including packages, boxes, grocery bags, and luggage. Shake out and inspect anything that has been left or stored outside.