As the temperature drops during fall and food becomes scarce outdoors, pests naturally seek the shelter and food resources inside buildings. There are nine animals specifically that you’re likely to run into as the season changes to fall in Indiana. For the most part, these animals are preventable or at to get rid of. But a few — like bedbugs and fleas — will require an exterminator.
Fall Pests No. 1: Rodents
It’s common that squirrels, rats, and mice will try to take up residence at your home when the temperature drops during the fall season. Like other pests, they do so because man-made buildings provide warm shelter and sources of food and water during the winter when these resources because scarce in the wild.
You’re likely to find all three of these rodents in an attic. Squirrels are also attracted to chimneys and gardens. Rats and mice will also make their homes in or near air ventilation systems, gage storage, kitchens, laundry rooms, and trash.
Rodents get into buildings through small holes and gaps, so to keep them out, you’ll have to close out all possible entrances. It also helps if you put a cap over your chimney if you aren’t going to burn fuel in it regularly. And make sure to tightly store food and valuables so rats and mice can’t eat or make nests.
Fall Pests No. 2: Stink Bugs
Stink bugs come inside during fall simply because it’s warm. These pests are also attracted to light, so as the days get shorter and you run your lights more often, these bugs will find their way to your doorstep.
Like rodents, stink bugs get into your house through holes, cracks and crevice. Make sure to check around your ventilation system and the weatherproofing around your doors. And seal your windows.
An invasive species of stink bug, the brown marmorated stink bug, will actually secrete a pheromone when it finds a good nesting place. This pheromone attracts other brown stink bugs. So, if you find one of these brown stink bugs, make sure to kill it or throw it outdoors.
Also, if you do find a stink bug of any species inside, don’t worry about it harming you. These animals will release an odor when frightened, but they can’t hurt you, and they won’t damage your house.
Fall Pests No. 3: Ants
Ants do not hibernate during the winter. Rather, they remain active and look for food year-round. Obviously, this means that these pests will come inside during fall to look for food.
As with other pests, they get inside through cracks and crevices. But because ants are so tiny, it can be difficult to keep them out completely.
The best thing you can do to keep these animals outside is to clean regularly (especially your kitchen) and store food in tight containers.
Fall Pests No. 4: Cockroaches
These little pests are more than nuisance. Cockroaches are known to spread disease, and they can actually trigger asthma attacks. Some people are even allergic to them.
Cockroaches are attracted to decay and moisture, so you’ll most likely find them around gutters, downspouts, and plumbing. You’ll also find these critters around garbage, in your kitchen, in the laundry room, and anywhere you have food.
Cockroaches can be difficult to control once they get into your house. And if you see one, you can be sure there are more. If you find a cockroach, call a local pest control expert right away to analyze the situation and exterminate the pests.
Fall Pests No. 5: Fleas
While fleas can be a year-round problem, they’re especially pesky in the winter. These animals like to congregate in carpets and fabrics, and they’ll of course hitch a ride on your and your pets’ bodies.
To prevent fleas, treat your animals with flea prevention medicines, and clean regularly. However, these aren’t animals you can get rid of by yourself. You will have to contact a pest control expert to eliminate them if they’ve taken up residence indoors.
Fall Pests No. 6: Bed bugs
Bed bugs are an increasing problem around the world. These menacing little pests will hitch a ride indoors on clothing and make a home anywhere there is a crack or crevice.
Because they can’t crawl very far, they like to congregate in bedrooms or places where people commonly lie or sit still for long periods.
Bed bug populations tend to peak around the holiday season between fall and the onset of winter.
If you have bedbugs, wash your cloths and sheets in hot water and dry them at high temperatures. You’ll need to contact an exterminator to kill them because they’re impossible to destroy on your own.
Fall Pests No. 7: Bats
While some bat species migrate during the winter, others remain in the area and hibernate. Other bats do both. Those that do hibernate look for dry shelter where they can stay.
Because these animals increasingly lack natural places to stay, bats will commonly find shelter in chimneys and attics. This can be a problem because their feces can spread disease.
To prevent them, place a cap over your chimney and make sure there aren’t holes or gaps leading inside your attic.
Also, don’t try and remove bats on your own. Some bat species, like the Indiana Bat, are endangered. Contact a pest control specialist who can remove them safely.
Fall Pests No. 8: Birds
Like bats, birds that don’t migrate will look for places to overwinter. And they, too, will seek shelter in chimneys and attics. They’ll also commonly gather around garbage as they scavenge for food.
You can prevent these pests the same you prevent bats — by sealing entrances to your house and placing a cap on your chimney.
Fall Pests No. 9: Moths
Heat and light attract moths. Starting in the fall as the temperature cools, your house or building is the primary source of these things. So, moths will come inside and then find their way into your wardrobe. And if you store your winter cloths, they can find their way into your storage and then decimate fabrics.
You can find out if you have moths by checking for moth damage on a regular basis and by using sticky strips or moth killer strips. Also, it helps if you clean regularly.
If you have a moth infestation, contact a local pest control expert to help with the problem.