There are cold spells coming up, and that means plenty of reasons for rodents and other common pests to try to get into your home.

Rats, snakes, spiders and other nasty vermin don’t like being outside when it’s freezing, and they will take refuge in your warm house if they can. To avoid inadvertently sharing your home with pests this winter, try these simple pest prevention and control techniques to reduce the chances that your home will become infested.

1. Seal off any entrances to your home, including gaps in siding, doors, windows and pipes. Install door sweeps on all exterior doors, repair or replace existing screens, and add screens to any vents and chimney openings. It doesn’t take much room for a mouse or rat to get in – rats can crawl through a hole the size of a quarter, and mice need only an opening the size of a dime.

2. Keep mulch, bark and potting soil away from your house. Insects such as spiders and cockroaches love moisture-rich places, and keeping these types of habitats in your garage or near your house is just asking for a pest problem.

3. Place any compost, firewood, or yard debris piles as far away from your house as possible. If you store firewood outside, keep it off the ground and inspect the wood before bringing it into your house.

4. Keep it clean! Regularly cleaning kitchens, pantries, living rooms and other areas of your home is a great rodent pest control method. Food should be stored in airtight containers. If there isn’t any food for the pests to eat, they will be less likely to stick around.

Pest prevention is pretty simple, but it does require some work. If you’re unsure about how to prevent a rodent or insect infestation, or if you think you might already have a problem, call a pest control professional.

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