While Florida has  beautiful summer weather year-round, it’s starting to cool down a bit. This means that winter pests are going to start looking for somewhere warm to stay for the winter. Checking around your house and pest proofing isn’t just for the warm part of the year – pest control is a year round job. By being proactive and checking around your home for any signs of winter pests can save you the headache of having to deal with an infestation gone bad. Here are a few tips for common winter pests that you might find trying to settle in your home.

House Mice

Firstly, house mice are the most common house pests in the United States. They usually try to set up their nests in dark, secluded places like the attic or the basement. Then, these pests cause some very serious home damage – they have been known to chew threw drywall and electrical wires. Of course, this causes a potential for an electrical house fire. Mice can also contaminate food and spread nasty diseases and bacteria like salmonella and tapeworms.

Tips

House mice can fit through openings as small as a dime. To prevent them from eating, seal all cracks and holes on the outside of your home with caulk and steel wool. Routinely check your home for signs of mice, like droppings, gnaw marks, and damaged food or packaging. Store boxes and other items off the floor like to hide in clutter.

Rats

Rats are often found nesting in storage spaces, piles of debris, and other cluttered materials. These pests are known to chew through almost anything – consequently, they ruin plastic or lead pipes to get to food and water. Rats carry many diseases like jaundice, rat bite fever, and cowpox virus.

Tips

Rats can fit through an opening as small as a ½ inch (about the size of a quarter). Check for any cracks or gaps outside your home and fill them with silicone caulk. Check your home floors and walls for infestation, be looking for greasy rub marks caused by a rat’s oily fur. Get rid of any sources of water or moisture in crawl spaces and basements.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches can be found throughout the world; even in the mouth of a Venus fly trap. They prefer to live in small areas that are close to food and water, which is why humans homes make a cozy habitat for them. Cockroaches can me their way into our homes in a variety of ways like boxes, grocery bags, and second hand appliances. They usually are found in kitchens and bathrooms (where moisture builds up the most in houses). Cockroaches can contaminate food sources and spread bacteria and pathogens. Cockroach allergens have been known to trigger allergies that will flare up asthma symptoms, especially with children.

Tips

Vacuum and dispose of garbage regularly & keep an eye on kitchens and bathrooms, especially under appliances and sinks where moisture can possibly buildup over time. Make sure counters and floors are clean and free of any food crumbs.

Brown Recluse Spiders

Recluse spiders set up their webs in isolated and undisturbed places, such as closets, attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Similarly to other spiders, the brown recluse can usually be found near window moldings, boxes, ceilings corners, and in seldom-used clothing and shoes. If you disturb them, then these spiders can bite and inject venom making them very dangerous to humans.

Tips

Keep clothing and shoes inside plastic containers. Be careful when putting on clothing and shoes that have not been used recently, as spiders like to hide in these items. Trim tree limbs and shrubs so they are not making any direct contact with your home. This helps reduce the chance that they find an entrance to your home. If you believe you are the victim of a spider bite, then seek medical attention immediately as waiting too long can cause symptoms to become more severe or even fatal.