The leaves are beginning to change, children are going off to school and halloween decorations are popping up all around. It’s clear that fall is officially upon us. While fall may be the favorite season of many because of the crisp air and beautiful seasonal change, it’s important to remember that the change in weather from summer to fall can send many pests right into your home. "When the weather cools, our warm homes are just as enticing to pests as they are to us," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for National Pest Management Association. In fact, you may not realize it now but fall is one of the most important seasons for pest control services for this very reason.

Rodents

With the temperatures gradually changing, these furry little creatures begin looking for a warm place to hideout for the winter. Roof rats, Norway rats, and house mice can all invade your home as the weather cools down. These critters usually live in wooded areas, farms or near any building that is surrounded by trees and shrubbery. Rats and mice usually find harborage in many areas around the home, especially in stacked firewood, stones and bricks, and piles of leaves or other debris around your property. Once they’re close to your home, it’s only a matter of time until they find their way in through a small crack, chimney, door or window.

Rodents can be particularly dangerous to you and your family because they are omnivorous and therefore will likely sniff out any and all food or waste products to snack on. They are also known for harboring disease such as Salmonella and Hantavirus. Rodents can also cause severe structural damage to your home and can even chew through important wires and cables within your walls.

Spiders

A Close Up Of A Black WidowDecorative Halloween spiders aren’t the only arachnids you’ll see this fall. The colder weather can send these creepy crawlers seeking shelter inside your home as well. While almost everyone has a fear of spiders, fall is a particularly bad time for these dangerous pests.

While most spiders are actually beneficial and can reduce the number of other insects or pests in the home, certain spiders should be exterminated immediately. Black widow spiders are the perfect example of a spider you don’t want in your home. These spiders are known for their extremely painful bite that almost always requires hospitalization and can result in death in some rare cases. Black widow spiders build their webs near ground level in areas with a lot of coverage such as a cluttered garage or a wood pile.

Brown Recluse spiders are another example of a venomous spider that you’ll want to rid your home of. If bitten, this spider’s venom often leads to hospitalization, severe pain, and necrosis of the skin. In the fall, they can often be found in leaf piles but inside your home, these spiders prefer dark, undisturbed locations to build their webs. The creepiest thing about this spider? It hunts in the nighttime.

Centipedes

If there’s one critter that is sure to scare the daylights out of you when found in your home, it’s a centipede. While these insects are certainly difficult to look at, they’re usually fairly harmless to humans. Many centipede species are venomous but lack the jaw strength to penetrate human skin. Centipedes typically prefer dark, moist places. For that reason, if you’re seeing a large amount of centipedes in your home, you may have an underlying moisture problem.

Crickets

Often times, a variety of cricket species take shelter in your home during rainy or colder weather. While crickets are relatively harmless to the structural integrity of your home, they can cause damage to some of your items with their fecal matter and are sure to bother you with incessant chirping. Camel crickets for example, can cause the most damage through the spread of their staining feces. These crickets love to hide out in basements where there’s more moisture and can also be indicative of a moisture issue in your home. Unlike other species, House crickets can breed indoors and love to chirp. These crickets are known for their chirping and are therefore much easier to detect than other species.

While these pests may be a nuisance throughout the fall season, it’s important to keep an eye out for others as well. For example roaches and stink bugs are more likely to be found indoors as the seasons change as they seek shelter from the cold. You may also notice persistent mosquitoes this fall. That is due to the incredibly large amount of rain that Central Virginia has seen this summer/fall, allowing mosquito populations to flourish in standing water throughout the autumn season. Read more about how our team can help you eliminate mosquitoes here. Oftentimes, wasps can persist throughout the fall season as well as the queens seek shelter for the winter months in order to store energy for the next spring season.

Prevention tips

While some pest seem inevitable with the changing season, you have much more control than you think when it comes to preventing an infestation this fall. Check out these tips to help you prevent and avoid an annoying or costly infestation this fall season.

Clean Up

One of the easiest ways to keep pests away from your home is to keep the immediate area around your home clear from any debris or clutter. Many of the pests listed above thrive in firewood stacks, fallen leaves, and other cluttered areas. Make sure you sweep your porch or deck often and keep it clear of any extra items that may provide a good home for spiders and other pests. Clean up any fallen needles, leaves and sticks throughout your yard for extra protection. It’s also important to clean out any unnecessary garbage or extra items in your garage or shed to ensure that pests do not hide-out in those areas during the fall and winter months. Keep your firewood pile as far from the house as possible and inspect the wood that you bring indoors for any unwanted pests before placing it in your home.

Store All Food Properly

One way to ensure that you and your family are safe from pests of all kinds is to keep all food products sealed in the proper containers. While many pests do not pose a direct threat to your health, it’s important to remember that rodents can infect you with diseases. For that reason, ditch the chip-clip and keep all food products in sealed plastic or glass containers or in the refrigerator or freezer.

Eliminate Moisture

Since some pests like roaches and centipedes are attracted to moisture, their presence may actually help you identify an underlying moisture problem in your home. Thus, in order to effectively avoid an infestation of these pests, it’s crucial that you eliminate areas with high levels of moisture or condensation throughout your home before you see these critters in your home.

Close the Gaps

Inspect the entire outside of your home to ensure that there are no spaces larger than ¼ of an inch that pests could enter from. You’ll want to thoroughly check all exterior walls, taking extra care to look between siding boards and bricks, around doors and windows, and even on the roof of your home to ensure that there are no cracks or openings. Seal any gaps with caulk or expanding foam insulation to keep pests away all winter long. Make sure that you are also checking all screen doors and windows to make sure that they are not torn or frayed to eliminate any and all entries for unwanted pests.

While these tips are great for preventing a pest problem, we understand that sometimes unwanted pests can be persistent, especially if they have found their way into your home already. If you’re concerned about a pest control issue in your home, contact Spence’s Pest Control at (804) 794-7738 to schedule an inspection today. Our courteous and knowledgeable staff will keep your home pest-free all winter long. We’re the ones to call for the best pest control Richmond has to offer!

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