Protect Your Home From the Fall Crawl

Many regions of the U.S. are susceptible to temperatures below 55°F in the fall, which means insects like ants, beetles, stink bugs, large outdoor cockroaches and wasps begin finding their way into your warm home. While 74% of Americans surveyed by Raid believe they have more bugs in the home in summer, what they may not know is their home remains susceptible to unwanted visitors well into the cooler months.

To keep these bugs, and other pests, out of your home this winter and stay ahead of the “fall crawl”:

Step 1: Seal Your Home Against Insects

As temperatures drop, food, water and shelter become more difficult for insects to find outdoors, which can cause them to invade your house looking for these disappearing resources they need to survive. To help prevent this from happening:

  • Weatherproof all windows and doors to seal off cracks around ledges and edges. This will help to keep outdoor pests outdoors.
  • Check your home for light leaks and seal any exterior-opening gaps or cracks that can enable pests as large as rodents and bats to get in.
  • Caulk cracks along bathroom and kitchen fixtures – even the tiniest of these can enable insects to sneak in, and provides them with easy access to the water they need for survival.

Step 2: Fortify Your Defense Against Pests

You might miss a few areas when sealing your house, and that’s where backup products come in.

  • Use long-lasting indoor/outdoor labeled pesticide products to spray around the perimeter of your house and larger entryways like doors. For best results, apply both indoors and outdoors.
  • To  keep pests out of indoor sensitive areas , such as kitchen sinks, backsplashes and bathrooms, use a product that is labeled for these areas and has a precise-tip applicator enabling application into tight spots, cracks and crevices.
  • Keep floors swept, counters wiped, and food stored in the refrigerator or  insect-resistant packaging . This will help reduce rodent and insect attraction and ensure you are not providing easy access to food and water for their survival.

Step 3: Break Bad Habits that Attract Pests

Cooling temperatures are not the only factor attracting bugs to your house – in fact, your everyday actions may be inadvertently inviting bugs. To help keep pests out by changing the following habits:

  • Do you store firewood next to your house? If you do, you are inviting wood-boring pests to invade your home. Always store firewood at least three feet away from your house and bring in only the amount that you will burn quickly. This will  keep pests on the firewood from crawling off  and taking shelter in your home.
  • Are there any recycling bins stored in an attached garage or near your home? The remnants of soda and other food products can attract ants. While the sight of a few ants might not be alarming,  ants will leave a scent trail for other ants to follow .
  • Do you have piles or old paper, fabric, or other clutter sitting in an out-of-the-way place – or even a regularly used room? These can provide shelter (and even food!) For a number of insect and rodent pests. Keeping your home clean means limiting it to pests.

Check your doors

Doors that have damaged, loose or broken locks make an easy target and are a sign that you have a lax attitude about home security. Inspect your exterior doors at least once a year. Do they close and lock properly? If not, your home security is at risk.

You should also check the hinges, strike plate and knob or handle for loose or missing screws. Ensure that the door fits squarely in the jamb and that the jamb is not cracked or split near the strike plate. If your door has glass near the latch, a dead bolt that is keyed on both sides may discourage a burglar from breaking the glass to gain entry. If the door or door hardware is damaged, it should be repaired or replaced immediately.

Always remember to lock your doors when you leave home. No matter how strong your door is, it won’t stop burglars if it’s not locked!

2. Inspect windows

Just as with doors, your windows play an important role in home security. Damaged or decayed windows are an easy target for criminals, especially if the windows are hidden behind shrubs or on a secluded side of your home. Check both the interior and exterior or your windows for proper maintenance.

Loose or missing glazing and broken glass make your home look less secure and thus more inviting to a criminal. Trim tall shrubs back from windows, and make sure the windows are caulked and painted well. Inspect all latches for proper operation, and replace any that are loose or damaged. Keep windows closed and latched when you are away. Open windows are an open invitation to criminals.

3. Install outdoor lighting

Exterior lighting is a key factor in home security. Exterior lights and motion detector lighting are good deterrents to keep prowlers away. All exterior doors should have a light that can illuminate anyone at your door. If someone comes to your door at night and the light doesn’t work, be extra cautious, as home invaders have been known to intentionally disable exterior lights.

Timers for some of your interior lights or leaving a television or radio on are good ways to simulate your presence at home when you’re away for an extended period. Remember a well-lit home is inviting to friends and family, but not to a burglar.

4. Take precautions during vacation

When you’re away from the home on vacation or extended trips, have a neighbor, friend, family member or house sitter collect your mail, newspapers and any deliveries you may receive. An overflowing mailbox or uncollected deliveries are a sure sign to a burglar that no one is home. If cars are normally parked in your driveway consider asking a neighbor, friend or family member to park one of their cars in your drive while you’re away.

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