Winter pest proofing: Keep your home pest free

Winter pest proofing: Keep your home pest free

As winter comes and you’re doing what it takes to keep warm, pests, too, are looking for ways to survive the winter much like humans— indoors. Here are some simple pest proofing steps you can take to prevent unwanted guests from entering your home during colder seasons.


Do make sure doors and windows are properly sealed

Pests can enter a structure through very small openings, including openings the size of a dime or smaller, making it easy for them to find a way indoors and quickly cause a full-blown infestation. Keep exterior doors (including garage doors) closed; use weather stripping or door sweeps to prevent pests from entering through gaps underneath.

Do dispose of garbage properly—and quickly

Store your garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight lids. Eliminating food sources, such as access to garbage cans, by making sure lids are tightly sealed will go a long way in preventing pests from thinking of your home as a convenient snack bar.

Do repair all cracks on the exterior of your home

Pests can enter your home through small cracks or holes, so inspect your exterior for any breaks in the foundation that would allow pests to enter. Seal any cracks or small openings with the appropriate filler, such as caulks or sealants, and pay special attention to openings around where utility lines enter the home. Finally remove window air conditioning units as gaps around these can be superhighways for pest entry.

Do store food properly in airtight containers

Where possible, food should be stored in plastic or metal containers. Regularly clean under stoves, refrigerators and cupboards—and don’t forget the corners where crumbs may gather. 


Do not keep attics and basements moist

Moisture serves as an attractant for many pests. Proper ventilation in attics and basements will reduce humidity and the conditions that create an environment favorable to pests. Also, fix leaky pipes and insulate them to prevent water build-up and condensation (yet another moisture source for pests to find).

Do not forget to inspect boxes and packages as they come into your home

Inspect items such as used furniture, boxes and other packages brought into the home. It’s not uncommon for a critter to stow away in one of these items! Also, before you store holiday decorations in the basement, attic or crawl space, check them carefully to ensure that you aren’t packing away any perishable foods, such as nuts, fruitcakes or other holiday treats. Holiday treats accidentally stored with decorations serve as a common source of infestation for pests and rodents. 

Do not store firewood in or near your house

It’s tempting to keep firewood close to or even inside of your home so you don’t need to travel far in the winter for logs. However, firewood often houses insects and they will quickly emerge once they’re warmed up inside of your home. Firewood stored right outside of the home may also serve as an attractive harborage for insects and rodents alike, making it easier for them to enter indoors, if given the opportunity. Therefore, keep firewood stored at least 20 feet from the home and raised off the ground, and check the firewood for insects before bringing it indoors. 

Do not forget to contact a pest management professional if an infestation is detected

A pest management professional can offer safe, proactive solutions for eliminating an infestation and preventing pests from entering and invading your home in the future.

Jumping cartoon

To prevent unwanted guests in your home this winter, make sure doors, windows and all potential openings are sealed, garbage is disposed of quickly and your food is stored away in tight containers. Additionally, be sure to check all boxes and packages and other containers that come into the home. Remember that includes firewood too!

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Photo Credits: mr. Smith/; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCETraining manager / Entomologist

After graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College with an A.A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology, Nancy became a certified veterinary technician. Nancy worked as a zookeeper while pursuing a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at East Strou...

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