It may seem that pest control isn’t necessary in winter months, but this is the time of year that several types of pests look for shelter, food and water indoors. Winter is also the time to check your lawn for pests and weeds, and apply pre-emergent weed control so that your yard will be in good shape for spring and summer. Here’s a look at why pest control and lawn service make good sense in winter.
Winter pest problems
Here are just some of the pests that can become unwanted winter guests in your home:
There are more than 70 species of cockroaches in the United States, with some preferring to stay outdoors and others that are ready to move in to your home when cooler temperatures arrive. Cockroaches can cause multiple health-related issues, from asthma attacks to allergic reactions. They spread nasty bacteria, including those that cause E. coli and Salmonella, and they can contaminate your food as they secrete waste and/or saliva.
Four common types of Florida cockroaches include:
- American cockroaches (also called palmetto bugs): These are the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches, and they can fly a short distance. Although they like to live outdoors, they aren’t opposed to coming into homes for food and water.
- German cockroaches: This is the “cockroach of concern, the species that gives all other cockroaches a bad name.” They move from room to room, laying eggs everywhere they go. One female can reproduce enough for the next generation to number in the tens of thousands.
- Asian cockroaches: These are often mistaken as German cockroaches, but are much stronger fliers.
- Smokybrown cockroaches: These pests are always on the lookout for water and seek protection from the elements.
Nearly half of all rodent issues take place during the fall and winter, according to the National Pest Management Association, as rats and mice move indoors. Because rodents are known to spread at least 35 diseases, some of them serious, it’s important to be proactive to help prevent a winter infestation. Tips include:
- Sealing entry points, even very small holes or cracks, using silicone caulk. Pay special attention to places where utilities or pipes come in your home. For larger holes, use steel wool for sealing.
- Check vents, including in your attic and below your home in crawl spaces, and chimney openings.
- Replace worn screens and weather stripping.
- Clear away mulch and vegetation that’s within 20 inches of your home’s foundation.
Here are more ways to prevent rodent infestations.
There are about 2,800 varieties of termites, with 185 of them considered pests. They feed on wood, including that in the foundations and support beams of homes, and can cause damage costing untold thousands of dollars. Although they can become less active in the winter, with some species burrowing underground, that isn’t necessarily so in more moderate climates such as Florida. Plus, it isn’t unusual for termite colonies to winter in nice warm homes.
Warning sites of termite infestations include:
- flying swarms of insects near light fixtures; these may be termites in the reproductive stage of their life cycles
- shed wings, which look like tiny fish scales
- small piles of wood-colored, ridged droppings
- mud-like tunnels coming up from the ground; if you destroy them and they are rebuilt, this is another red flag
- swollen walls, ceilings and floors; these may also appear to have water damage and offer up a moldy smell
- holes in wood, such as in walls or furniture; soil around hole edges is another sign
Winter’s the time to reduce summer weeds
Lawns may not be growing fast year-round, but weeds are always waiting to strike. Now’s the time to prepare your lawn for spring and summer by stopping warm-season weeds before they have a chance to get established. Inspect your lawn now for weeds that can be pulled by hand, and apply a winter pre-emergent weed control solution. For the best results, call the lawn and outdoor pros at Turner now—we have the equipment, techniques, and special products that will prevent spring and summer weeds from germinating.
Since summer weeds will be sprouting soon, it’s best to apply pre-emergent herbicides between February 15 and March 1, so contact us now!
TurnerGuard: All-in-one pest control
For the ultimate in pest control coverage for a low initial price, we invite you to use TurnerGuard. Our plan offers more coverage than any other in the industry, from termites and bed bugs, to rodents and wasps.
TurnerGuard provides a great value, too: Your service starts at an affordable initial fixed price, and then you pay a low monthly fee based on your home’s square footage. There are no hidden costs or exclusions, and you’ll never pay for another termite retreatment.