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Wintertime Isn’t Pest-Free Time

Winter is a time to hunker down, sit by the fire, watch playoff football, and plan springtime activities. At least you don’t have to worry about pests. Right?

Not so fast

Winter is also a time for many pests to hunker down (in your home) and continue their own activities while waiting for warmer weather.

Following is a brief description of some of these pests and control suggestions. If you would rather not don the exterminator uniform, Aardvark Pest Control Services offers free inspections and estimates to do the job for you.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top wintertime pests.

Mice

Mice are very resourceful and adaptive creatures. When the weather is cold, they look for a way in to your home. Once inside they can create havoc by destroying food in pantries and leaving droppings on counter tops. The average mouse can be responsible for 40-50 droppings in a 24 hour period.

Mice leave telltale signs of where they have been and how they get around – what paths they are taking into and around the inside of your home. These signs can also give you clues to where they are living.

Top Five Signs of Mice in Your House

1. Rodent droppings. Since mice cannot control this bodily function, they leave droppings behind wherever they have been. Follow the droppings trail and often you will find where the mice are coming from.

2. Urine trails. Same idea as above. They can’t control this bodily function either.

3. Chewing. Mice are nibblers and they can snack on numerous food items each night. Loaves of bread and boxed food items are common targets.

4. Rub marks. Mice like to run along walls. When a mouse uses a particular path repeatedly the mouse begins to leave a build- up of grease marks from their body on the wall they rub against. These rub marks eventually begin to look black.

5. Small holes in walls. Mice often live in walls and they need a way into walls – usually through holes they have chewed. These holes are often easy to identify – they generally range in diameter from the size of an index finger to the size of a thumb. However, this author has witnessed mice entering a hole the size of a Bic pen.

Top Five Things To Do To Make Your Home Less Hospitable For Mice

1. Eliminate Clutter. Mice like to nest in quiet, dark, undisturbed piles of stuff – boxes, clothes, food items. Do not allow things to collect in undisturbed piles– especially in less frequented areas such as basements, garage, and attics.

2. Seal any holes that might provide entry into your home, or provide access into wall voids. These holes might include plumbing or other utility lines(baseboards heaters are a notorious entry point for mice since mice like temperatures somewhere around 80 degrees). Steel wool works well for this.

3. Eliminate access to food. The more food available, the better their ability to survive. Keep food in sealed containers.

4. Use traps to catch mice – we prefer the common snap trap. Be careful to keep traps out of the reach of children and pets. If there is enough clearance, the area beneath the stove can be a good spot to place a snap trap or two.

5. Make sure the bottoms of all doors that lead to the outside of your home are tight. Remember the Bic pen rule- if you can slide a Bic pen under your door mice can get in.

Spiders

Nearly all spiders you will encounter are harmless. It is a documented fact that spider bites are widely over-reported. Still people do not like spiders – especially in their home.

The common house spider is the spider most often encountered indoors. This spider is a web builder and inside structures house spiders are most likely to be found in upper corners, under furniture, in closets, window frames, basements, garages, and crawl spaces. is found throughout the United States.

Jumping Spiders. Their name comes from their jumping ability and habit of jumping or springing up which they use to capture prey.

Cellar spiders are commonly referred to as “daddy-long-legs” because of their very long, thin legs

Wolf spiders are hunting spiders and will chase after their prey. These spiders are often big and hairy which alarms some people, but they are primarily nuisance pests. Wolf spiders often enter your home in search of prey. Inside they can be found at or near floor level, especially along walls under furniture and other objects. Wolf spiders are often brought indoors along with firewood.

Vacuuming areas where these spiders are found is the best first defense in their control. Concentrate on areas that are harder to reach and therefore often overlooked such as under furniture and beds.

Overwintering Pests

Overwintering pests such as stink bugs, boxelder bugs, cluster and face flies, and lady bugs to name a few typically invade your house in the beginning of fall when the weather starts to cool at night. They enter your home in an attempt to survive the winter.During the warmer days of winter, they can reemerge inside your home because they can’t distinguish between natural and artificial light and head towards windows in an attempt to get outside.

Again, use your vacuum as a first line of defense.

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