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Winterizing your house

Unlike the northern areas of the country, winterizing a house in Florida has little to do with how to shovel feet of snow and protecting pipes from cold temperatures.  Oh sure – we sometimes get a winter blast that brings a little snow or ice, but it really doesn’t last long for us.  But that doesn’t mean we can just forget about important winterizing steps.  In Florida, our winterizing steps are designed to keep the bugs and critters outside.

Check the roof! If we’re having a wet winter or we get one of our rare winter snowfalls, the roof can start to leak.  For the homeowner, just having a leaking roof is bad, but when it comes to pest control, this extra water can saturate into the house and become an attraction for many bugs and pests.  Plus, when the roof leaks, this means there is an opening that can allow pests into the house.

Be prepared for the cold.  The colder the weather gets, the more vermin will try to find a nice warm spot to move to.  This means they look at your house as a safe refuge from the elements.  Flying vermin such as bats love the attic while mice or snakes look for open crevices in your foundation, around doors or windows.  Think like a bug and find any opening that might be inviting.  These could include:

* Incoming pipes. These should be checked and sealed well so that there are no spaces around the pipes.

* Windows and doors. Use lots of caulk to seal up the windows so that no air flows from the inside to the outside.  For doors, make sure to use weather stripping.

* Cracks in the foundation. Over time foundations shift and move.  This means you’ll start to see small cracks or holes in the foundation of your house.  Use a foundation sealant or some steel wool to keep out unwanted visitors.

* The chimney. One of the most welcome entrances for vermin is the chimney.  Invest in a good chimney screen for the top and you won’t have to worry about it.

* Storage sheds are wonderful second homes for snakes, rodents and spiders.  Don’t forget to caulk, weather strip and seal up your storage shed.

Clean up the leaves. Leaving fallen leaves or debris out in your yard is like rolling out the welcome mat to local pests. Areas like bunched up leaves or stacked up firewood are extremely welcoming to pests.  They provide shelter, warmth, food and even water sources for bugs, pests, rodents and other vermin.

Check your plants. This is especially true for any plants that you bring in during the winter.  Check the leaves, stems and the soil carefully for any hidden bugs before you actually bring the plant indoors.  If you can, rinse them off well before bringing inside to get rid of any hitchhikers.

09 Jan

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