The leaves have taken on their yearly color show and the temperature has begun to drop slowly but surely. Fall is a spectacular time of the year, when the mosquitoes are gone and your yard and home are once again safe, you think. It turns out that is not quite the case. While you are strolling through these perfect days before snow fall, a number of creatures who once were basking in the summer sun now need to find immediate shelter from old man winter's chill. Your home is as perfect a haven for them as it is for you.
A number of pests would like to build a corner apartment out of your home and out of your immediate notice. There are some serious dangers in letting them do so. There are a few, who will not necessarily cause serious damage to your home such as box elder bugs, stink bugs and lady bugs, but all can spread waste across your home, curtains and other soft material, leaving a number of stains to deal with as well as an unpleasant odor that can take months to get out of your home. The pests previously mentioned may not pose any real health or structural risk but other pests who might move in can.
While most house spiders are harmless to humans, I doubt very many people enjoy sharing their homes with them. They tend to show up unannounced and startle their human hosts at the most inopportune times. However, there are a few that can be found that are not as harmless as most. The Black Widow and the Brown Recluse spiders, though both normally content to live apart from humans outside, have been known to take up residence in nearby structures to overwinter. Both species naturally shy away from humans but will both become aggressive when they feel threatened or cornered. The bite of either of these spiders is poisonous to humans and pets causing pain, swelling, nausea , fever and vomiting. If you fear that you have been bitten, you will need to seek medical attention immediately.
Finally, we come to the most common and destructive winter roommate of all. Rodents will always need a warm place for their families to flourish in the winter months. They can get into a home through the smallest of entrances and build nests in out of the way spots with almost anything. Mice have been knows to chew wires , walls, plastics and wood and cause everything from fires to structural damage in your home, but their worst offenses occur mainly in the kitchen.
Mice and rats are more than happy to make themselves at home and help themselves to anything that they find for their snacking pleasure. Leaving anything on the counters such as bread, cakes, ripe fruit or even crumbs is like laying out the welcome mat. Rodents leave their waste behind everywhere they go, which also leaves behind a number of bacteria and germs for their humans to unwittingly ingest and become very sick with, such as salmonella and hantavirus. Even the fleas that always come with your little guests can carry a host of illnesses that can do a lot of harm.
The good news is that you can help prevent these pests from finding their way into your cozy home. Always inspect your home inside and out for cracks and crevices that can give them entrance, such as in walls or foundation. Keep these areas in good repair. Seal up gaps around windows and doors with caulking and weather stripping. Make sure that any screens on your windows or chimneys are in good condition and replace the ones that need it. Make sure any gaps around pipes, water and sewer as well as where wires run into your home are properly sealed. Finally, if you have any problems with leaking water pipes, now is the time to fix them. All pests need two things, food and water, to survive. Leave these sources out for the taking and you can almost be certain pests will follow.