Every old house homeowner knows there are time of the year when they find some unexpected house guests. When the weather warms in the spring and summer months, the small trails of ants might appear in your kitchen, and in the fall months, as the weather cools, there are sometimes little creepers that find their way into your pantry.
Most people prefer to see their local wildlife outdoors, in the wild, where they belong. But sometimes, they find their way into your home and you need to take action to eradicate/evict them. Why are they there? Habitat is a requirement for all living things. This includes food, water, shelter and space. If your home provides easy access to these resources, chances are you will find yourself playing the unwilling host.
Don’t Open the Door
One of the best methods to eliminate a pest problem is to make it hard for pests to find what they need. Check for possible entry points around your home – a gap in your window screening, a broken window in your basement or maybe a garage door that doesn’t close properly may be easy access points to your house. Do a general inspection each Spring and Fall for needed repairs to prevent pests from entering your home. Is your crawl space protected? Do your windows need resealing? Does your attic screen need repair? Is your chimney capped? Preventing entry in the first place is always a good place to begin.
Don’t Feed Your Guests
Next, look at your food sources. Did someone spill the sugar? Are there crumbs under your toaster? Is there food in your pantry that should be stored in a canister? If pests cannot find something to eat in your home, chances are they will have to find somewhere else to live. A thorough cleaning of your pantry and kitchen/dining areas will often help to assure that food particles are not available and will make it a harder or more unfriendly environment for pests, reducing the chances that they will take up a more permanent residence in your home.
Sometimes, steps have to be taken to force your unwanted guests out. That wasp nest on your roof porch needs to go! If you use spray insecticides, make sure you follow the directions carefully and practice extra caution if you have pets or children in your household. For small mammals like mice, avoid using poisons if you can since these animals are often prey for cats and other predators, and poisons often travel through the food chain and will impact more than that one intended nuisance target. Trap and release works well as an alternative, but there are times when spring traps (for mice) or bait traps (for insects) might be necessary.
If all else fails, it’s time to turn to the “Yellow Pages” or your favorite online directory to find professionals in your area that can help you with pest control. Try to get recommendations from friends or maybe a local realtor to find out who might be best for the job.
Prevention is always the best method of control, but if you see or hear signs of unwanted guests in your home, then it’s too late. You are closing the barn door after the horses get out (or the raccoons got in). Do what you can to eliminate entry areas and habitat for your pests and if that fails, then move along to take more extreme (and often more costly) measures. Pests are nuisances, but they can also do considerable damage to your home (chewed electrical wiring, structural wood damage). Action is necessary to make your home inhospitable – for both short-term and long-term control.
If you have questions about whether pest damage to your home is covered by your insurance policy, give our team at Bieritz Insurance a call at (607) 547-2951 or stop in at our offices at 209 Main Street, Cooperstown.