Winter in Pennsylvania can be brutally cold. You would think the cold would kill off pests or send them into hibernation, and it does to some degree — but since your home remains warm and cozy throughout the winter, pests are still a threat.

The time to start preparing for winter is now. Here are some pest control tips you can implement this fall and into the winter season to protect your home from the creepy crawlies.

1. Store Your Firewood Carefully

As temperatures grow colder, you probably can’t wait to light some fires in your fireplace. Just make sure the way you store your firewood is not an open invitation to pests.

Keep your main firewood pile at least 20 feet from your home so that any rodents that seek refuge in the wood during winter don’t have easy access to your home. Make your wood pile less appealing to these pests by storing the wood on concrete blocks or bricks.

Also use caution when bringing firewood inside. Inspect each piece for insects, and burn wood immediately after bringing it indoors.

2. Vacuum More Often

As the temperatures grow colder, the air also grows drier. As such, your home may become dustier. Hidden in and among the dust in your home may be insect eggs. If you vacuum more often and are careful to empty the vacuum bag outside after vacuuming, you’ll reduce your risk of an insect problem during the cooler months.

Vacuuming also removes crumbs and food debris from floors and carpet so any insects that do find their way inside don’t have a food source.

3. Cover Attic Vents and Chimneys

The attic is warm, quiet, and secluded, which makes it a common harborage point for pests, from squirrels to rats. Make sure your attic is sealed up prior to winter so these pests do not enter in search of a warm and sheltered space.

Pests often enter attics through roofing vents and chimneys. If your chimney does not already have a chimney cap, have one installed. Made from metal mesh, a chimney cap will keep pests out while still letting smoke escape. You can also place wire vent covers over your roofing vents; they are readily available at most hardware stores and easy to install.

4. Rake Your Leaves

As tempting as it might be to just let those fallen leaves sit until spring, this is a surefire way to attract pests. If there are wet leaves piled up against your home’s foundation, insects will hide out there and then find their way into your home when outside temperatures drop.

Millipedes and centipedes, in particular, love to hide out in leaves and may show up in your basement if you have wet leaves piled against your foundation.

5. Have Your Roof Checked for Leaks

Roof leaks are unfortunately common during the snowy Pennsylvania winter. Snow builds up on the roof, and as it melts, finds its way in past damaged shingles or popped nails. A moist attic space is more appealing to an array of pests, from carpenter ants to mice.

If your roof is more than a couple of years old, have it looked over by a roofing company this fall. They can repair any damaged areas to prevent leaks and subsequent pest infestations. Also keep your gutters clear — clogged gutters can lead to a leaky roof, and pests may take up residence directly in the gutters too.

While the cold weather does offer some reprieve from pests, you must still keep up with preventative tactics throughout autumn and winter. If you are having trouble with pests in your home or yard this fall, contact Environmental Services Pest Control, LLC, to schedule an appointment.