How to Prepare Your Home to be Insect-Free This Winter
There's nothing like curling up in one's warm, cozy abode once the cold weather hits; the crackling of the fire, the smell of dinner cooking, and the sound of the icy winds outside all instill feelings of pleasure and security in us. Alas, the same seems to be true for insects; human dwellings tend to beckon to these small eight-legged beings during the winter months, and if homeowners are not careful, they quickly find themselves dealing with a full-on infestation.
Though completely sealing out these tiny creatures presents a challenge, with a bit of research before hand, prepping your home to be insect-free this winter is possible. To get started, review the strategies outlined below:
- Make sure to seal up the cracks and crevices of your home with sealant. While cracks in sealant may appear miniscule to our eyes, to insects, they are inviting doorways into our houses—in fact, insects can actually sense the warmth emanating from these cracks from an appreciable distance. As such, any homeowner’s first line of defence involves sealing up even small cracks (paying special attention to the sealant around doors and windows, which tends to buckle as the weather turns colder) with a good-quality silicone sealant.
- Remove any window air conditioning units and store them. Some people in Australia choose to simply cover their AC units during the winter months, unaware that doing so provides the perfect “insect highway” into their homes. AC units usually create gaps between the unit and the window sill itself, and while most homeowners install insulation to prevent the entry of warm air, this insulation is simply not enough to keep out a determined group of insects. Ergo, you should remove the unit, store it, and close the window tightly as soon as cooler weather hits.
- Use only “yellow” lights for outdoor lighting. White lights around the home (e.g. white porch lights) are notorious for attracting hordes of insects, and once insects are on the porch or the outside of the house, it's only a short flight in through an open door or window.
- Apply insecticide outdoors around the perimeter of your home before winter begins. It's usually a good idea to hire a professional to do this as insecticides are often toxic and must be handled with care.
- Have your home cleaned professionally. A professional cleaner will not only take the time to go through your entire home, removing insect food sources (crumbs, for example) and cleaning out any burrows you have missed, he or she will also know how to spot common insect infiltration points, such as cracks in sealant or in the walls of your home. Additionally, he or she should be able to refer you to a reliable pest control professional should you need one.