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How to keep winter’s critters out

Protect your home with these simple steps

While we all love the romance in the fairy tale Cinderella, one detail of the story always seemed rather terrifying. How on earth did Cinderella not just tolerate all the critters in her roof void but also befriend them!

A majority of us would want to call the exterminator right away for inspection and removal. We may only know about the mice in Cinderella’s roof void but I’m pretty sure there were rats, rodents, spiders, bugs and a whole lot of other creepy crawlies. Roof voids are the most likely place for bigger critters like possums.

An inspection of the kitchen will tell you that you might have a few resident pests out there too. Of course the most effective way to cure an inspection is calling a professional exterminator but wouldn’t it be better to avoid it in the first place?

Summer may be a bummer with its heat and own set of pests. But winter can be equally bad! Don’t be fooled into thinking that mice, rats, spiders, rodents, bugs, etc are hibernating. Food, festivities and your cosy home could easily roof voids pests.

During this season it is also easy to miss out on the inspection routines you would have otherwise carried out. So here are some steps to help you control them from entering your home and also for removal if they have already gotten in.

Critters of the corners:

These are those pests who can creep into crevices and corners that may be difficult to clean out. They also happen to be small and so are difficult to spot. Spiders, ants and bugs are the ones that come under this category. They are masters of getting away stealthily.

Spiders in particular manage to cover big spaces thanks to their legs. Spraying them down doesn’t help much as they easily can step over the poison. Swatting them may kill the critter you saw but doesn’t end the infestation.

Bed bugs too can easily hide within mattresses and crevices. If they sense you too near they easily scatter into small spaces nearby for safety. Gain control over them by:

*  Spraying insecticide on other critters. The critters are food to spiders so killing the critters means stopping the food source.

*  Vacuum clean regularly as this takes care of the upkeep of crevices and areas you cannot reach into.

*  Seal off entry points to your home. Cracks, holes, loose doors and windows act as a bridge between the outside world and your home.

Taking control over the kitchen:

To a large extent these include mice, rats, and rodents. However you might bump into a spider or two. The kitchen is a hub for food for them and hence they choose to either live there or flock toward it.

Open bins, pet food, food left out in the open are big temptations to mice, rats and rodents alike. Once they nibble on the food not only is it spoilt but they keep returning. Soon what started out with one mouse turns into a party of mice!

Always do an inspection of your kitchen to see that there are no temptations for them. Don’t just restrict yourself to the kitchen. Any part of your home that has food is bound to attract these pests and bugs. They can also be found in your front lawn.

The most effective way to play exterminator is to cut off their access to food. When storing the food use containers that rats and rodents cannot chew through. When starved they will automatically search for another home, helping you gain control over your kitchen once again.
During an inspection don’t forget to look in the small nooks and crannies; you’d be surprised at how small a place mice can hide in.

Just like in the case of the spiders, for complete removal you have to seal off entry points. Hardware cloth is an effective way to seal vents, windows, chimneys, etc. Not only does it keep the critters out, but it does not interfere with the ventilation.

Removal of roof void pests:

Your roof voids is one of the best hiding places. This is for the obvious reason that you frequent this area of your home the least. Along with spiders, the roof voids can also host mice, rats, bugs, and rodents. But its most special occupants are possums, squirrels, and maybe even birds.

A regular inspection will keep you informed of the pests you may be dealing with in the attic. Just like you they are seeking a safe place to shield them from the winter’s cold. Getting a food source close by is an added bonus for them. They enter through vents, chimneys, shafts, etc.

*  Hardware cloth can be used to seal off the open spaces. However, before you seal off the place do a thorough check to see that no animal is trapped inside.

*  Certain pests like possums can be difficult to get rid of. Possums in particular are legally protected. Place a trap in the roof voids along with attractive fruit. However do not forget to check on the trap or you might have to deal with the stench of a rotting body. If you do find a pest caught in the trap you have to release within 50 meter of your property. Proofing entry points a must.

Bug Removal:

Playing exterminator to bugs during the winter can be tricky. This is especially true for firewood bugs. Firewood stored inside your home could easily house these pests and soon lead to an infestation that will destroy your entire home.

The only way to gain control is through constant inspection. Lighting up a fire during the winters is common. People stock firewood inside their home to avoid making numerous trips outside. Already stored firewood is like an open invitation for the pest to come settle down and live there without being disturbed.

If it is stored outside the house, you need to be even more careful.

*  Always conduct a thorough inspection of any firewood or wooden object before bringing it inside the house.

*  Place firewood on a raised plastic platform so it does not come in direct contact with the surrounding area. This prevents the bugs, if any, from moving from the firewood to other things in the house.

*  If storing firewood, use plastic sheets as it acts as insulating material. This makes the firewood no longer an ideal home for pests.

The next time winter is around the corner, you know exactly what you have to do. It doesn’t matter what kind of critter it is, as long as you cut out their food source and seal off their entry points, you’re in a safe place. If things do get out of control you can always contact a trusted professional to help you with the removal of these pests.

About the author:

Muzi Tsolakis heads Protech Pest Control, which happens to be amongst the most trusted pest control companies. Their thorough pest inspection and technology make them the best for mice control or critter control.