(NewsUSA) - As the cold winter months quickly approach, people won't be the only ones huddling inside for warmth. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take steps to prevent pests like cockroaches, rodents and nuisance wildlife from making your home their winter getaway.
Winter invaders such as cockroaches, mice and rats present considerable health threats to family members. Cockroaches carry bacteria and other kinds of human pathogens, contaminating food surfaces and potentially triggering asthma attacks in children, and with 24 percent of homeowners reporting mice infestations specifically in the winter, they are among the top pest issues of the season. Most rodents only need a space the size of a quarter to enter a home, and once inside, they can cause considerable damage and pose serious health risks to people and structural damage to homes, as they are known for chewing through electrical wires and wallboard.
Nuisance wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels can also be an issue in the colder months and may present a unique set of dangers due to their size and aggressive nature if they are frightened or feel threatened when trapped in an unfamiliar environment. Lastly, homeowners should check wood piles for ants and spiders that can often be hiding within.
Prevention is the best way to avoid an infestation during the winter months. NPMA offers these 10 important measures for homeowners as the temperatures begin to drop:
* Seal cracks and holes, including areas where utilities and pipes enter the home.
* Screen vents and openings to chimneys.
* Keep attics, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
* Replace loose mortar and weather-stripping around the basement foundation and windows.
* Keep tree branches, shrubbery and ground covering well trimmed and away from the house.
* Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
* Store boxes off of the floor to prevent rodents from residing in undisturbed areas.
* Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles, as some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
* Store garbage in containers with lids.
To find a pest professional or learn more about how to protect your family from the diseases and dangers of pests, visit www.pestworld.org.