How to Keep Your Home Pest-Free This Winter with Tips from Boggs Inspection Services

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Even new construction is not immune to pests. These moisture ants set up a home because there was moisture intrusion. A Boggs Inspector found them during an inspection. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

Winter is in full swing across the Puget Sound, and while you might think of rain, ice and snow as the biggest concerns for your home in the wintertime, Boggs Inspection Services wants to remind you that there is one concern you should keep in mind—pests. Home is a comfortable place for people and pets, but the same things that make your home comfortable for your family, also make it comfortable for pests. Wintertime pests aren’t just a nuisance, they can be destructive and spread disease, but there is good news. There are steps you can take to keep your home comfortable for you, but not pests.

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Crawlspaces and Attics can be the ideal location for pest intrusion into your homes. Boggs Inspectors aren’t afraid of the creepy crawlies and will check every crack and crevice looking for signs of pest infestations. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

There are a wide variety of creatures that would like to move into your home in the winter, from small and solitary insects and arachnids to rodents and even other mammals such as racoons. “Reducing the likelihood of pests in your home is a very simple formula,” says Dwayne Boggs, CEO for Boggs Inspection Services. “You want to seal your home top to bottom, prevent easy access, and reduce areas around your home where pests can nest and multiply.”

The Ants and Termites Go Marching

Rake bark back or level it out so that it doesn’t pile up against your foundation wall. This prevents wood-to-soil contact on your siding, which serves as a highway for moisture ants, termites and even rats.

“Shrubs and tree branches touching your house also offer pests an easy way into your safe haven,” says Dwayne. Prune those back when they start to get close. Each season inspect for shelter tubes, the super highways that termites build for themselves when they are moving into your home. Clean up yard debris and trash including leaves and wood piles that can provide shelter and hiding places for a variety of pests, not just the insect colonies. Wasps also find the same conditions helpful. Pregnant female wasps overwinter in yard debris before they start a new colony in the spring, and ground nesting wasps love abandoned wood piles.

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Branches, shrubs and beauty bark are bridges and highways for pests to make their way into your home. Once they get established, ant and termite colonies, like the carpenter ants show here can cost thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Trim branches and rake bark back to keep them out. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

Mosquitos, in Winter?

You might think of mosquitos as a summer pest, but with the mild climate in the Pacific Northwest, winter temperatures often edge up into the ideal climate for hibernating mosquitos to pop back up. Mosquitos are not just an irritating nuisance, they also spread disease. Removing standing water from around your home is the surest solution to put a stop to mosquitos, but standing water might not be obvious. Look up! “It’s important to remove any debris from gutters and downspouts to avoid standing water,” says Dwayne. You may not notice the water is pooling above your head, but the mosquitoes will, and their larvae will multiply rapidly. Clearing your gutters will also have the added benefit of protecting your home from water damage.

Shooing the Spiders

“If you have a problem with spiders and their webs, simply sweeping webs away from lights, windows, and doors removes their homes,” says Dwayne. Most spiders will relocate if their web gets knocked down enough. Reducing the availability of their food, namely insect pests, is the best way to reduce the spider population in your home.

Rats, Mice, and Squirrels, Oh My!

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While most spiders are more scared of you than you are of them, seeing a spider in your home can make many people feel uncomfortable. Cutting off their food sources and knocking down webs are sure ways to kick spiders to the curb. Photo courtesy: Boggs Inspection Services

Rodents multiply quickly, love cozy and warm spaces, and carry disease. “Rats and mice tend to look for warmer attics and crawl spaces to nest in,” says Dwayne. Their colonies can cause thousands of dollars in damage from chewing entry points and contaminating insulation, he adds. Mice can squeeze to enter your home through a dime-size opening. Sealing and securing any small openings is the best prevention to keep mice from getting in. Regularly inspect the areas of your home that you don’t frequent to ensure any cracks or holes are filled. It may seem obvious, but make sure to keep doors and windows shut, especially the garage door, so nothing sneaks in. Check vent covers to make sure they are secure and intact to prevent pest entry. Rodents, squirrels, possums and even racoons might find your garage, attic or crawlspace comfortable enough to call it home, so don’t make it easy on them.

Follow these few simple steps and your home will be a cozy, comfortable place for you, your family, and only your invited guests this winter season. If you’d like a trained set of eyes to help with a thorough inspection of your home, Boggs Inspection Services offers Pest Inspections as well as a variety of other home inspection options to fit your needs. Give them a call at 360.480.9602 or check out the Boggs Inspection Services Website to set up an inspection in any of their service areas throughout Western Washington.

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